Inflation is down to 1.9% according to the media today.
When I’d finished spluttering into my cuppa, I had to laugh.
Inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) dropped to 1.9 per cent in January from 2 per cent in December, the Office for National Statistics said.
The biggest factor in driving down inflation was a fall in recreation and culture prices, household goods, alcoholic beverages and tobacco ( as reported by The Independent, Feb 18)
At the bottom in the same report, was this:
Inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI) , which includes housing costs, rose to 2.8 per cent from 2.7 per cent in December.
Our government changed the price index for their figures from the RPI to the CPI some time ago because it looked better. This is the classic example of why. Almost 1% classic example actually.
Yes, we have seen fuel at the pumps drop by as much as 3p a litre. But on the news over the weekend, it was reported that many were finding it difficult to pay their rent. With changes to housing benefit (what was termed The Bedroom Tax) last year, some landlords have actually put their rents up.
Headlines shout that unemployment figures are lower, but if you take a broader view and think more along the lines that a lot of the jobs are only part time (or worse, ZERO hour contract workers are not included in unemployment figures) , wages are less or stretched further, and people are struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes and keep a roof over their heads.
The recreation and culture prices refer to DVDs and CDs, plus entrance fees to Museums and Art Galleries. Those of us on limited budgets save even more simply because not only do we wait for the ‘blockbuster’ releases to be sensibly priced at a fiver or less in the supermarkets, WE DON’T GO to appreciate The Arts.
‘Household goods’ usually refer to white goods like fridges, freezers, cookers, microwaves, and washing machines, furniture or the latest in TV and computer technology. Probably new cars will also be included in this category for the March figure calculations when the new ’14’ registration plates will appear on the roads.
For the record, in our household, alcohol and tobacco don’t apply (but we do have the occasional DVD, yippee!! and we had to replace our washing machine 4 years ago) .
I did my own ‘thing’ on my shopping bill, as that is where we notice the cost of our living most.
Taking a basic list of 20 items, I compared the prices I paid 3 months ago to what we paid last shop.
Hm. Inflation is at 1.9% they said.
Ha ha ha. Not in my world.
My shopping had increased by £6.84. That may not sound a lot, but when you put it as a percentage, it was almost 20%.
Now I can do my own fiddling of the books, and if I take out pasta, rice, cereal, tea, flora and the luxury of jam and marmalade (29p a jar so not exactly breaking the bank) which are the same price as I paid 3 months ago, that percentage increases to 27%!
The biggest increase has to be in dog food, up from £6 a bag to £7.98. Other things we buy like cheese and meat may have stayed at the same price, but you actually get less for your money, so I had to calculate the figures on a like for like equivalent.
It’s no surprise then that for many things, like toilet rolls, margarine, tea and especially dog food, we only buy it when it’s “on special” at a price we’re prepared to pay (read ‘as little as possible’) .
Yes I am blinkered. Yes I am biased. Yes I have no idea how ‘They’ calculate these figures.
The government say the country is OK, and the policies of Those in Power “are working”. Who am I to argue, but for whom are they working exactly?
The government may take everything into account when they are producing these ‘encouraging’ inflation statistics, but for common people like me, it’s a farce as about 95% of it probably doesn’t apply to the way we live.
These are the facts:
We have £X in income. We HAVE to pay out in respect of local taxes, utilities, telephone, car running expenses, insurances. We therefore have £Y left for everything else . And our ‘everything else’ is going up. Practically every week.
And not by 1.9% (I think they may have got the decimal point in the wrong place) .
If it wasn’t so worrying, it would be laughable, but then you can’t pay the bills with humour can you.