CPI basket of goods: Inflation calculation to include gin, lactose-free drinks, bike helmets and half-chocolate biscuits

British shoppers seem to be discovering a taste for gin, lactose-free drinks and bike helmets.

The Office for National Statistics on Tuesday updated its representative ‘basket of goods’ for measuring consumer price inflation, adding half-chocolate coated biscuits, flavoured water, gin and cycle helmets and ditching mentholated cigarettes, mobile phone handsets and single drainer sinks.

The ONS said that in 2017, 16 new items were added the basket, which is updated each year to make sure it accurately reflects British consumer spending patterns. Eleven were removed and eight were modified.

Consumer price inflation is the rate at which the prices of goods and services bought by households rises or falls. The ONS uses the metaphorical shopping basket to collect a sample of prices for a selection of goods and services that they deem representative  in a range of UK retail locations including the internet.

That way it aims to “avoid potential biases that might otherwise develop over time, for example, due to the development of entirely new goods and services, or the tendency for consumers to move away from buying goods and services which have risen relatively rapidly in price and to goods and services whose prices have fallen”.

Other new additions in 2017 include non-dairy milk drinks, a four-pack of apple cider, men’s base layer tops, the average council bill in Britain, cough liquid, a child’s scooter and a jigsaw.

Items ditched from the basket include spirit-based drinks, brake pads, a child’s swing and the fee for stopping a cheque, which the ONS said reflects a fall in cheque usage.

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