Bank of England/Kantar Inflation Attitudes Survey - November 2020

This quarterly survey, conducted by Kantar on our behalf, assesses public attitudes to inflation, opinions about the Bank and awareness of our work.
Published on 11 December 2020

This news release describes the results of the Bank of England’s latest quarterly survey of public attitudes to inflation, undertaken between 10 and 16 November 2020.

Please note, the Government’s social distancing guidance meant that face-to-face interviewing was not possible for the May, August nor November 2020 surveys. These have been conducted online instead. This change resulted in a methodological break in the series in May 2020. For example, the proportions of respondents who answered “Don’t know/ No idea” to the May survey’s questions declined substantially. That perhaps reflected the design of the online questionnaire, where the option of “Don’t know/ No idea” appeared only if the respondent tried to move onto the next question without giving an answer. In the August and November 2020 surveys however, the option of “Don’t know/ No idea” appeared in the same showcard as the other options. The proportions of respondents answering “Don’t know/ No idea” returned to usual levels for most questions in the August and November surveys. 

These mode of collection changes mean caution should be taken when making comparisons across the latest two surveys and May 2020 and with previous vintages, which were based on face-to-face interviews.

More details about the methodology applied in the  November, August and May 2020 surveys can be found in the ‘Methodology and notes – Online survey’ attachment and that of 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 2.5%, compared to 2.6% in August.

Question 2a: Median expectations of the rate of inflation over the coming year were 2.7%, down from 2.8% in August. 

Question 2b: Asked about expected inflation in the twelve months after that, respondents gave a median answer of 2.1%, down from 2.2% in August. 

Question 2c: Asked about expectations of inflation in the longer term, say in five years’ time, respondents gave a median answer of 2.9%, compared to 2.8% in August. 

Question 3: By a margin of 49% to 9%, survey respondents believed that the economy would end up weaker rather than stronger if prices started to rise faster, compared with 54% to 9% in August and 54% to 12% in May. 

Question 4: 40% of respondents thought the inflation target was ‘about right’, down from 42% in August. The proportions saying the target was ‘too high’ or ‘too low’ were 29% and 11%, respectively. 

Question 5: 38% of respondents thought that interest rates on things such as mortgages, bank loans and savings had fallen over the past 12 months, compared with 40% in August and 50% in May, while 20% of respondents said that interest rates had risen over the past 12 months, compared with 18% and 25% in August and May, respectively.

Question 6: When asked about the future path of interest rates, 34% said they expected rates to stay about the same over the next twelve months, compared with 33% in August. 33% of respondents expected rates to rise over the next 12 months, up from 31% in August, but down on the 42% figure recorded in May. 

Question 7: Asked what would be ‘best for the economy’ – higher interest rates, lower rates or no change – 21% thought rates should ‘go up’, up from 19% in August, but lower than May’s score of 25%. 15% of respondents thought that interest rates should ‘go down’, down from 16% in August. 35% thought interest rates should ‘stay where they are’, down from 37% in August.

Question 8: When asked what would be ‘best for you personally’, 29% of respondents said it would be better for them if interest rates were to ‘go up’, up from 28% in August, but down on the 30% figure recorded in May. 16% of respondents said it would be better for them if interest rates were to ‘go down’, down from 19% in August. 

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 +20%, up from +19% in August.

Summary results

Detailed survey results