By Colin Ellis of the Bank’s Inflation Report and Bulletin Division.
Over the past five and a half years, NOP has carried out 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 2004 to February 2005. Public opinion on most issues has changed little over the past year. One in five people - the largest group - thought inflation had been between 2% and 3%, and a similar proportion expected price increases in that range over the next twelve months. In February a majority of respondents expected interest rates to rise over the next year, but that was a smaller proportion than a year ago. Around 40% of people thought the economy would fare best if interest rates remained unchanged, and over half of the sample was satisfied with the way the Bank is setting rates. But there remained a lack of understanding about monetary policy in some demographic groups.