By Ben Simmons
Tablet computers (such as iPads) and teenage fiction (such as the Twilight books) have been added to the basket of goods and services the Office for National Statistics uses to evaluate inflation.
Tablets have been added as they represent a significant and growing market. Fiction was previously covered by children’s and adult books, but with the growing popularity of many titles aimed specifically at teenagers, this new item has been added to the basket.
These changes are part of the annual review of the CPI/RPI (consumer prices/ retail prices of inflation) basket, which seeks to ensure that its contents and weights stay up to date with current consumer spending.
Bundled communication packages comprising telephone, internet and television are also included for the first time. The three component parts were already in the basket but the bundle reflects the way in which consumers are increasingly buying these services.
Cans of stout (such as Guinness) have also been added to widen the coverage of beers in the basket, along with pineapples, hot oat cereals and takeaway chicken & chips.
In addition, vehicle excise duty, television licence fees and trade union subscriptions, which are currently only used to calculate the RPI, will also be used in the CPI.
However, charges for developing and printing colour film are being removed as the popularity of digital cameras means fewer and fewer people are using analogue cameras.
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