Bank of England/TNS Inflation Attitudes Survey - May 2020

This quarterly survey, conducted by TNS on our behalf, assesses public attitudes to inflation, opinions about the Bank and awareness of our work.
Published on 12 June 2020

This news release describes the results of the Bank of England’s latest quarterly survey of public attitudes to inflation, undertaken between 12 and 17 May 2020.

Please note, the Government’s social distancing guidance meant that face-to-face interviewing was not possible, so the latest survey was conducted online. This has resulted in a methodological break in the series, and caution should be taken drawing comparisons with the previously published results. For example, the proportions of respondents who answered “Don’t know/ No idea” to the May survey’s questions have declined substantially. These declines are probably related to the change in collection mode. In the online questionnaire, the option of “Don’t Know/ No idea” appears only if the respondent tried to move onto the next question without giving an answer. 

For more details about the methodology applied in the latest survey can be found in the ‘Methodology and notes – Online survey’ attachment and for previous surveys in the ‘Methodology and notes – Face-to-face survey’ attachment.

Highlights from the Survey

Question 1: Asked to give the current rate of inflation, respondents gave a median answer of 2.4%, compared to 2.8% in February.

Question 2a: Median expectations of the rate of inflation over the coming year were 2.9%, down from 3.0% in February. 

Question 2b: Asked about expected inflation in the twelve months after that, respondents gave a median answer of 1.9%, down from 2.9% in February. 

Question 2c: Asked about expectations of inflation in the longer term, say in five years’ time, respondents gave a median answer of 2.6%, compared to 3.4% in February. 

Question 3: By a margin of 54% to 12%, survey respondents believed that the economy would end up weaker rather than stronger if prices started to rise faster, compared with 47% to 10% in February. 

Question 4: 55% of respondents thought the inflation target was ‘about right’, up from 52% in February. The proportions saying the target was ‘too high’ or ‘too low’ were 33% and 12%, respectively. 

Question 5: 50% of respondents thought that interest rates had fallen over the past 12 months, compared with 12% in February, while 25% of respondents said that interest rates had risen over the past 12 months, down from 27% in February.

Question 6: When asked about the future path of interest rates, 39% said they expected rates to stay about the same over the next twelve months, compared with 29% in February. 42% of respondents expected rates to rise over the next 12 months, up from 39% in February. 

Question 7: Asked what would be ‘best for the economy’ – higher interest rates, lower rates or no change – 25% thought rates should ‘go up’, up from 17% in February. 18% of respondents thought that interest rates should ‘go down’, up from 16% in February. 45% thought interest rates should ‘stay where they are’, up from 37% in February.

Question 8: When asked what would be ‘best for you personally’, 30% of respondents said it would be better for them if interest rates were to ‘go up’, up from 20% in February. 21% of respondents said it would be better for them if interest rates were to ‘go down’, down from 26% in February. 

Question 14: Respondents were asked to assess the way the Bank of England is ‘doing its job to set interest rates to control inflation’. The net satisfaction balance – the proportion satisfied minus the proportion dissatisfied – was +23%, down from +29% in February.

ExcelSummary results

ExcelDetailed survey results