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Netflix added to inflation basket

Video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon have been added to the basket of goods and services used to calculate inflation rates for the first time while DVD recorders have been booted out.

The change comes as downloading and video streaming has soared in popularity among households in recent years, with DVD recorders also replaced in the basket by digital television recorders and receivers as more people choose to catch up on missed programmes online.

In a sign of the burgeoning "grab and go" food market, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has also included flavoured milk to the basket, as well as fruit snacking pots as supermarkets devote more shelf space to prepared fresh fruit.

The ONS updates the basket each year to ensure it reflects up-to-date spending trends.

The consumer prices index (CPI) rate of inflation is calculated using 180,000 price quotations every month, covering around 700 goods and services from 150 areas across the UK.

Nine items have been removed this year, with 14 added and 25 altered to reflect changes in tastes and habits.

Rapid developments in technology account for a large number of changes each year and the ONS said 2014 has also seen the addition of d igital cameras with interchangeable lenses, such as digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras.

They now make up around half of consumer spending on cameras, with the demand for traditional compact digital cameras waning as smartphones are increasingly used to take snapshots, according to the ONS.

Honey and mixer drinks are also among grocery items that have been included, while takeaway coffees have been replaced by takeaway lattes.

Hardwood flooring and wallpaper paste have been ditched as DIY trends have changed and the basket also now includes men's clothing hire, canvas shoes and fashion necklaces.

The ONS also reviews the proportion of consumer spending for items and services and said soaring household energy bills has resulted in the weighting given to gas and electricity costs almost double over the last 10 years.

But the weighting for petrol and diesel has fallen back for the second year in a row since a high reached in 2012 thanks to easing increases in fuel prices on the forecourts.

Here is a list of all the items added and removed in this year's inflation basket:

Products and services included:

:: Video-on-demand/DVD rental subscription services

:: Interchangeable lens digital camera

:: Flavoured milk

:: Fresh fruit snacking pot

:: Honey

:: Mixer drink

:: Men's clothing hire

:: Canvas fashion shoe/trainer

:: Tufted carpet, 100% manmade fibres

:: Tufted carpet, minimum 80% wool

:: Car wash - manual or automatic

:: Plant food

:: Wild bird seed

:: Fashion necklace

Products and services removed:

:: DVD recorder

:: DVD rental internet subscription

:: Wallpaper paste

:: Hardwood flooring

:: Tufted carpet

:: Gardeners' fees

:: Automatic drive-through car wash

:: Takeaway coffee (still represented by takeaway latte)

:: After school club charges


From Belfast Telegraph