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Champagne put on ice in UK ‘inflation basket’

Champagne has been removed from the menu by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in compiling the latest list of goods and services that will be used to calculate CPI and RPI inflation rates.

The ‘shopping basket’ of around 700 items is reviewed each year, in order to represent changes in consumer spending patterns.

This year, eBooks have been added to the basket to reflect a rapid increase in the use of digital readers. Digital television recorders have also found their way into the basket, replacing Freeview boxes.

Foodstuffs joining the basket include blueberries and packaged stir-fry vegetables, together with charcuterie and hot chocolate, while off-licence sales of white rum have replaced the sale of champagne on licensed premises.

Sales in restaurants and bars have been removed altogether, due to a significant fall in the last year, while basin taps have made way for self-assembly kitchen units.

The ONS commented, ‘Changes to the basket will reflect evolving consumer tastes, but only over a long run of years. Aside from new technology, a number of new items are introduced to represent specific markets where consumer spending is significant’.