Focus on the Living Costs and Food Survey
Article dated: 6 July 2012
It may not have the instant name recognition of surveys such as the Labour Force Survey, but it is just as newsworthy.
The Living Costs and Food Survey (LCF) is widely used, including in the production of the Retail Prices Index (RPI).
In order to assess how retail prices are affecting consumers it is necessary to have an understanding of spending patterns, and this is where the LCF comes in; asking households about expenditure. Unusually, this is done by means of both a questionnaire and a fortnight's spending diary.
At the recent LCF user meeting, the Office for National Statistics reported that expenditure on transport, housing, household goods, clothing and footwear all increased in 2010, and that for the first time the number of households with digital/cable/satellite access exceed those with landline telephones.
Both the questionnaire and individual diary data are available from ESDS providing detailed information about consumption. And the LCF is popular: the data have been downloaded or accessed more than 1,800 times in 2011, with 2011 publications covering such topical subjects as philanthropic giving and the impact of a 'fat tax'. Presentations on these and other topics were given at the recent user meeting.