By Norbert Janssen of the Bank's Inflation Report and Bulletin Division.
Since November 1999 the market research agency NOP has carried out quarterly and annual surveys of public attitudes to inflation, on behalf of the Bank of England. As part of an annual series, this article analyses the results of the surveys from May 2003 to February 2004. Public opinion on most issues has changed little over the past year. Around one in five people thought retail price inflation had been between 2% and 3% over the past year and a similar proportion expected price increases in that range. Both in November and February, a large majority of respondents expected interest rates to rise over the next year, though nearly 40% thought the economy would fare best if rates stayed where they were. Just over half the sample population remained satisfied with the way the Bank is setting interest rates.