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How much is an extra pint in London? How inflation affects different parts of the UK

Inflation across the country in June was at its highest rate in 40 years, but Sky News’ analysis of the latest ONS figures shows shoppers in London are facing price hikes that are doubling those seen in Yorkshire.

Apart from London, prices in Wales and Northern Ireland are up more than 10% from last June, higher than overall national inflation of 9.4%.

Food prices have risen less than services overall, and both significantly less than goods, but there is still a clear difference in how the prices of different types of items rise in different countries and regions of the UK.

The ONS measures inflation by keeping a record of the prices of 730 foods, goods and services that are supposed to be representative of what UK consumers spend. The list, called “the basket”, is updated every year in order to remain relevant.

Part of the way they track price changes is to visit UK stores and record the prices seen on the shelves, which are then published in full, including a weighting based on store type and the representativeness of the article. For example, the price of a big brand seen in many stores may carry more weight than a private label version of the same item.

The figures we have analyzed relate only to items found in-store, while the ONS also records some of the prices online and over the phone.

Major costs like petrol, energy and housing are also excluded from the release, so the figures are not directly compared to the ONS headline inflation figure. They do, however, give insight into the different cost of living experiences people face in different parts of the UK.

“Personal Spending Habits Really Matter”

This doesn’t necessarily mean that people in places where prices have risen the fastest will end up deteriorating.

Jack Leslie, a senior economist at the Resolution Foundation who specializes in inflation and wealth inequality, said “personal and local spending habits really matter”.

“If you’re someone who lives in a small, energy-efficient apartment in London and doesn’t own a car, your personal inflation level will be dramatically lower than someone who lives in a leaky mansion in the Highlands of Scotland. , because the energy price cap has gone up and you have to carry loads.

“There has been a longer-term trend that housing and other living costs have increased in areas with higher wages, so there are smaller gaps in living standards between nations. and regions than it seems at first glance.These figures feed into this.

“But it’s not good news that these gaps are closing, it’s just that some places are doing worse than others. Everywhere is going to be hit hard by the cost of living crisis. No one can escape it.People’s real incomes are falling and this is causing a lot of stress and hardship and potentially pushing people into poverty.

Read more:
Expense calculator: Which prices have gone up or down?
Some places in England and Wales are harder hit by the crisis than others

Figures released by HMRC on Tuesday show that while average wages have risen across the UK, prices have risen faster overall.

People still earn more in London than in other parts of the country, £2,556 a month compared to a UK average of £2,108 and less than £2,000 in the North of England, Midlands, South West and Northern Ireland.

But lower wage growth and a higher cost of living means there isn’t the same gap in living standards.

How much does an extra pint cost in different parts of the country?

Our analysis also shows the price range of certain items in different countries and regions.

Although there is only a fivepence difference between the average price of milk in the cheapest part of the country and the most expensive (£1.28 for four pints of whole milk in the North West versus £1.33 in the North East), there are more marked differences. when it comes to things like alcohol.

A pint of draft beer will cost you an average of £2.89 in the North West, but £1.50 more in London. It’s a similar story for wine and lager, while the cheapest whiskey – perhaps unsurprisingly – is found in Scotland.

Mr Leslie says regional differences in hospitality costs generally reflect wage differences: “A large part of the cost of dining out would come from the cost of employing the chef, servers and anyone else who works there. “.

Other factors that make a difference in local price changes include the amount of imported versus locally produced or grown produce, and the types of stores people are used to using.

Mr Leslie says that during the pandemic “people became less willing to go to the big supermarket, and there was more demand for local corner shops”, especially in built-up areas.

He added: “I would expect the prices of imported goods to rise faster than those of non-imported goods, due to the disruption of supply chains and exchange rates.”


The Data and forensics The team is a versatile unit dedicated to delivering transparent Sky News journalism. We collect, analyze and visualize data to tell data-driven stories. We combine traditional reporting skills with advanced analysis of satellite imagery, social media and other open source information. Through multimedia storytelling, we aim to better explain the world while showing how our journalism is done.

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