This news release describes the results of the Bank of England’s latest quarterly survey of public attitudes to inflation.
From February 2022, the survey has been conducted on the Bank of England’s behalf by Ipsos, prior to that it was conducted by Kantar. Ipsos interviewed a quota sample of people aged 16-75 across the United Kingdom; the sample was surveyed between 4 and 7 August 2023.
Please note, the Government’s social distancing guidance meant that face-to-face interviewing was not possible for the surveys conducted since May 2020. 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 surveys since August 2020 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 2020 and subsequent surveys.
These mode of collection changes mean caution should be taken when making comparisons across the latest twelve surveys and May 2020 and with previous vintages, which were based on face-to-face interviews.
More details about the methodology applied in the surveys since May 2020 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 8.6%, down from 9.6% in May 2023.
Question 2a: Median expectations of the rate of inflation over the coming year were 3.6%, up from 3.5% in May 2023.
Question 2b: Asked about expected inflation in the twelve months after that, respondents gave a median answer of 2.8%, up from 2.6% in May 2023.
Question 2c: Asked about expectations of inflation in the longer term, say in five years’ time, respondents gave a median answer of 2.9%, down from 3% in May 2023.
Question 3: By a margin of 73% to 5%, survey respondents believed that the economy would end up weaker, rather than stronger, if prices started to rise faster, compared to 69% and 6% respectively in May 2023.
Question 4: 40% of respondents thought the inflation target was ‘about right’, up from 37% in May 2023. The proportions saying the target was ‘too high’ or ‘too low’ were 31% and 14% respectively.
Question 5: 81% of respondents said that interest rates on things such as mortgages, bank loans and savings had risen over the past 12 months, up from 75% in May 2023. Meanwhile, 3% of respondents thought that interest rates had fallen over the past 12 months, remaining unchanged from May 2023.
Question 6: When asked about the future path of interest rates, 63% of respondents expected rates to rise over the next 12 months, up from 57% in May 2023. 19% said they expected rates to stay about the same over the next twelve months, down from 20% in May 2023.
Question 7: Asked what would be ‘best for the economy’ – higher interest rates, lower rates or no change – 13% thought rates should ‘go up’, down from 16% in May 2023. 40% of respondents thought that interest rates should ‘go down’, compared to 37% in May 2023. 26% thought interest rates should ‘stay where they are’, up from 25% in May 2023.
Question 8: When asked what would be ‘best for you personally’, 25% of respondents said it would be better for them if interest rates were to ‘go up’, down from 26% in May 2023. 34% of respondents said it would be better for them if interest rates were to ‘go down’, up from 31% in May 2023.
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 -21%, down from -13% in May 2023.