Every month, the Governor of the Bank of England kindly lets us know the rate of inflation – currently, for those who missed last week’s news, it stands at 2.7%.
This time, however, Sir Mervyn (King) put a cherry on the top by telling us that it was likely to go up before it comes down and even then, it will stay high for at least a couple more years.
He did try to sugar-coat this rather bitter pill by saying there was ‘cause for optimism’ because ‘recovery is in sight’, but the Office for National Statistics (ONS) soon popped his balloon by telling us that workers today are earning no more than they did 10 years ago.
In our house, we don’t have to wait for Sir Mervyn’s monthly pronouncements on RPI and CPI – we have our own gauge for measuring inflation . . . MPF.
Mum’s Price Fury varies from week to week and is dependent on how angry my wife is after the weekly supermarket shop.
This week’s almost went off the scale and was triggered by an eye-watering 25 per cent price increase in one of our food staples.
The epicentre of the eruption was the frozen food aisle (of a well-known supermarket chain) where the price of oven chips (not the healthiest of foodstuffs, but an essential when you’ve got teenage boys in the house) had gone up from £2.62 to £3.30 in just a week.
Days later we’re still suffering from aftershocks as waves of resentment bubble to the surface – ‘how can they say inflation is only 2.7 per cent?’.
The last leap in MPF which came anywhere close to this was when our dogs’ tinned food of choice went up from 62p to 79p – again, a rise of more than a quarter in one week.
A long-running rumble that promises to boil over at some point, but which we’ve managed to contain so far, is the gradual increase in the price of clothes washing liquid.
A bit fussy about washing liquid (it has to smell right), my wife was really pleased with herself when she found a detergent she liked at just £1.55. But the pleasure has worn off as the price has increased over the past 12 months – it’s now more than £4.
Another trigger for spikes in the MPF graph is the sneaky (but now all too common) practice of reducing package sizes but leaving the price the same – the day my wife’s favourite smoothie went down from a litre to 750ml must have registered on the Richter scale somewhere.
So to any interested politician, I’d suggest that they ignore Sir Mervyn’s monthly bulletins and instead put their ear to the ground and listen to the MPF which must surely emanate from nearly every household.