UK Inflation Rate and Graphs

Current UK Inflation Rate

  • CPI inflation rate:  0.3% (headline rate) CPI – D7G7 at ONS
  • (page updated 10 July, 2016)


Other measures of inflation

What is causing low inflation?

  • Lower cost push inflation – falling oil prices.
  • Other commodity prices also falling, such as metals, food.
  • Lower energy prices – gas and electricity
  • Low worldwide inflationary expectations. Europe is experiencing deflation and this is keeping inflation low.
  • Supermarket price wars, with big chains, such as Tesco and Sainsbury attempting to maintain market share from Pound Shops and discounters like Lidl
  • Wage growth still weak, despite early signs of some wage growth.
  • Negative output gap, with real GDP still around 10-15% below pre-crisis trend rate
  • Note: RPI inflation is still 1.0%. Also, core inflation stripping out volatile items such as petrol, oil and energy prices is higher than the headline CPI rate.

Historic inflation

annual-inflation uk

The current UK inflation rate compares favourable to much of the post-war period. The 1970s frequently saw double digit inflation. In 2014, the annual RPI was 2.2%. But, now inflation is below the government’s target of 2% +/- 1, raising problems of deflation.

See also: more historical graphs of inflation

Inflation since 1990



CPIH is a new experimental index from the ONS. It is based on CPI, plus it includes housing costs, such as mortgage interest payments. Owner occupiers cost (OOH) account for 12% of the CPIH weighting. Mortgage interest payments are the biggest part of OOH. Mortgage interest payments average 10% of household expenditure.


Inflation and interest rates


The Bank of England are responsible for monetary policy. They target an inflation rate of CPI = 2% +/-1. They also take into account economic growth.

Usually, with an inflation rate above 2%, you would expect the Bank of England to increase base rates to reduce inflationary pressures. However, since early 2009, the Bank of England kept base rates close to 0.5%. This is because the Bank of England are worried about the depth of the recession. They argued that the increase in inflation (e.g. during 2011) was due to temporary cost push factors, such as taxes, commodity prices and effects of devaluation. Therefore, they tolerated CPI inflation above target rather than risk a deeper recession.

Now, we are seeing inflation fall.

Inflation and wages

  • Real wages = nominal wages – inflation.
  • Usually, during a period of economic growth – wage growth is higher than inflation, this leads to positive real wage growth.
  • During the economic recession of 2009-13 – we had a prolonged period of negative real wage growth. Wages rising at a slower rate than inflation.
  • The end of 2014 saw the first signs of renewed wage growth and positive real wage growth.


See more at UK wage growth

Inflation excluding the effect of taxes

The ONS publish a measure CPI-CT – this is a measure of inflation at constant taxes, i.e. the effect of an increase in excise duty is taken away from the index. This gives a better guide to underlying inflationary pressure.


CPI-CT was lower than CPI during 2010 because tax increases, such as VAT, increased the headline CPI rate. The fall in CPI during 2011 was partly due to tax increases no longer affecting the price index.


RPI is still published by the ONS, but it is no longer designated as a national statistic.


RPI includes more items, such as housing and mortgage interest rate costs. It is calculated in a different way to CPIH. See: Definitions of CPI, RPI, RPIX

The ONS also publish a new measure RPIJ – which involves a new method of calculating RPI

Producer inflation


The producer price index measures the price of manufactured goods as they leave the factory gate.

There is also an input price index which measures cost of raw materials. These are both a guide to future inflationary pressures.

See more at: Input and producer prices

Gap Between RPI and CPI


There is a debate about whether government spending commitments should be calculated through CPI or RPI. Currently benefits are linked to CPI; this means the increase in benefits is generally smaller than if we used the RPI method.

Inflation v Unemployment


Unemployment and Inflation

Historical Inflation

UK inflation since 1918

UK inflation 1918-2011

Note the period of deflation in the 1920s / 30s

The highest periods of inflation were:

  • During the two world wars
  • 1970s inflation


Inflation more volatile in the nineteenth century.

UK Money Supply

Notes and coins is known as a narrow money supply (old measure M0)



 M4 Money supply

M4 money supply is a measure of notes and coins in circulation, plus bank deposits. It is known as a broad money supply and is a guide to underlying economic activity and bank lending.


click to enlarge-  Source: Money databases at Bank of England | see also Money supply and inflation

Fall in M4 Lending – helps to explain why Bank of England didn’t increase interest rates during 2011 – despite high headline inflation.

Boom and Bust – Inflation in Late 1980s


Record economic growth of 5% a year in the late 1980s, led to a spike in inflation of 10% by 1990. Inflation only fell after higher interest rates and membership of the ERM caused a fall in domestic demand.

EU Inflation

uk-eu27-inflationFurther reading: European deflation

Further Reading on Inflation

5 thoughts on “UK Inflation Rate and Graphs

  1. Including tuition fees gives a false impression. If they were not paid by students/parents they would be paid by taxpayers. The real issue is whether the introduction of fees increases quality and/or efficiency in education.

    The hike in fees will be offset by reduced taxes (at some time).

    1. If only we had maintained the levels between 1983-89; i.e. keeping inflation at a similar level to GDP we wouldn’t be where we are now!
      Wether growth is sustainable or not, you can’t have infinite growth in a finite system, fact!

Comments are closed.