Gin-Sipping Hipsters on Fixies Ride Into U.K. Inflation Metric

  • Cycle helmets, non-dairy milk, scooters added to CPI basket
  • ONS says also publishing revised back series for CPIH

They’ve faced much mockery for their beards and fixed-wheel bicycles, but U.K. hipsters are getting the last laugh as they make their mark on national statistics.

Non-dairy milk, gin and cycle helmets have all been added to the list statisticians use to gauge living costs, while basic mobile phone handsets have been removed as their rarity in a world of smartphones makes it hard to collect prices, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday.

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Gin returned to the consumer prices basket after a 13-year absence amid soaring popularity of small-batch producers and festivals dedicated to the spirit formerly known as Mother’s Ruin. Once considered a “favorite of the middle-aged suburban couple, gin has become the staple of the younger drinker,” the ONS said.

With all that alcohol to make Brits wobbly on their wheels, it’s probably for the best that cycle helmets have reentered the list for the first time in more than a decade. Flavored cider was also included, alongside non-dairy milk such as soya, rice and oat, which reflects the current popularity of vegan diets among what the ONS described as “clean eating hipsters.”

The ONS reviews its inflation basket each year in order to more accurately reflect the cost of living faced by households. Eleven items were removed from the list, which comprises around 700 goods and services. Sixteen were added, including children’s scooters, which replace swings.

The body also announced it was publishing a revised historical series of its CPIH measure, adding council tax and updating weights. The index, which includes owner-occupiers’ housing costs, will become the ONS’s preferred measure of inflation on March 21 and it’s working to get it designated a “National Statistic.” The changes on average impact the annual growth rate by less than 0.1 percentage point, it said.

Inflation is coming under the spotlight in Britain as it pushes toward the Bank of England’s 2 percent target. Since the U.K.’s June vote to quit the EU, the pound has fallen 18 percent, which is starting to feed through into imports and pushed consumer-price growth to 1.8 percent in January.

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