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Hand sanitiser and home workout gear added to inflation basket

August Graham
·2-min read

White chocolate bars are out and hand sanitiser, home workout gear and WiFi lightbulbs are in as the UK’s inflation basket was updated on Monday.

The Office for National Statistics has added several Covid-inspired items to the inflation basket, which is used to calculate the cost of living in the UK.

The list included obvious choices that were sparked by the pandemic, such as hand sanitisers – which have been slipped into pockets and handbags throughout this year.

Casual clothing has also been added to the basket, as those working from home abandoned formal office wear, and around 10 million people were placed on furlough at least once during the year.

“The pandemic has impacted on our behaviour as consumers, and this has been reflected in the 2021 inflation basket of goods,” said ONS head of economic statistics Sam Beckett.

“The need for hygiene on the go has seen the addition of hand sanitiser, now a staple item for many of us.

“Lockdown living has seen demand for home exercise equipment rise, while spending more time within our own four walls has also encouraged us to invest in smart technologies.”

However, the list also included less obvious choices such as smartwatches, which have been used to track home exercising, and WiFi lightbulbs, as people stuck at home took to upgrading their living spaces.

Hybrid and electric cars were also added to the basket as the UK moves closer to 2030 when sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned.

White chocolate bars are no longer in favour, and were removed from the basket, replaced by Maltesers and other malted chocolate sweets.

Ground coffee was removed in favour of coffee sachets, and Axminster and Wilton carpets were taken out because they are mainly being bought for commercial spaces.

“These annual changes are only a small percentage of the items sampled.

“This year we’ve added 17 items, removed 10 and left 729 unchanged,” Mr Beckett said.