Gin, soya milk and bike helmets: UK inflation basket turns millennial

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Gin-loving vegan cyclists are the new drivers of consumer spending in the UK, judging from the latest changes to the country’s inflation basket, which this year has a distinctly millennial flavour.

The Office for National Statistics’ reviews the goods and services that count toward its official inflation figures once a year.

This year’s calculations will include non-dairy milks such as soya and oat milk for the first time, while gin and bicycle helmets return to the basket for the first time in more than a decade.

Gin sales in the UK have grown eightfold over the last four years, leading to a surge of new craft gin distilleries.

In contrast, basic mobile phone handsets were finally pushed out of the basket, after the ONS said the rise of smartphones “has been making it difficult to collect consistent prices for them”. The ONS also added children’s scooters to the basket, replacing swings.

The CPIH measure, an alternative measure of inflation which includes housing costs, has also been updated to include council tax, helping it, according to ONS senior statistician Phill Gooding, to remain “our most comprehensive measure of consumer inflation”.

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