•   Saturday, 24 Feb, 2024
Why inflation is falling but prices are still rising

Why inflation is falling but prices are still rising

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The inflation figure is an average - so your own cost of living could be rising at a very different rate to what's reported in the news, depending on what you spend your money on.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) which calculates inflation, bases its numbers on a basket of goods that reflects what most people across the UK are buying. But it doesn't include everything. So if you are buying a lot of unusual or niche items, or you have atypical tastes, you might find the cost of your own bag of shopping is going up more quickly - or more slowly - than the headlines suggest.

Food inflation is currently at 10.1%, much higher than the average overall rate of inflation, so people who spend a greater proportion of their outgoings on food will find their personal inflation rate is higher than the 4.6% headline figure.

The ONS says energy, food, and drink accounts for around 15% of lower-income households' spending, compared to 10% for high-income groups.

The Bank of England tries to control inflation by putting up interest rates which makes it more expensive to borrow money. This encourages people to borrow and spend less, and save more.

The Bank is expected to stick with that strategy - of putting up interest rates - throughout this year. So if you have a tracker mortgage or a credit card or loan you could find yourself paying more interest. That's another way your own personal inflation rate could be affected.

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