Branch Secretary :

Inflation hits 7.8% Your pay?

Need for action


Our members don’t need headlines to tell them we are facing a cost-of-living crisis. With more price increases and tax rises in the pipeline we need action, but many housing employers are making derisory offers. That’s why a recent meeting of housing workers in Unite agreed to launch a fightback.


In many housing associations workers have agreed 10% pay claims.



The housing association sector is one of the most financially robust in the UK and has some of the fattest profit margins; there can be no doubt about their ability to pay up.


Below we give some key figures and we will be running a series of articles on this website with more facts and figures.



Cost of Living - Going Up


The latest RPI inflation is 7.8%

Today (16 February) the UK Government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the latest Retail Price Index (RPI) figure. This provides the RPI rate to 11 January 2022. It shows that prices are up 7.8% from a year ago.


Clothing and footwear are up 14%

Women’s clothes have risen 18.3%, while new children’s clothes are 12.9% more expensive than last year. Men’s clothing is also up by 13.7% and footwear costs 11.8% more.


Fuel and light are up 23.2%

Oil and other fuels are still up by a massive amount on last year, up 39.5%. Electricity is 19.2% more expensive than a year ago and gas has gone up 28.8% over the same period.


Fares and other travel costs are up 9.5%

Other travel costs (including taxi fares, car park charges, cycle helmets and air fares) are 14.6% more expensive than a year ago.


Motoring expenditure is up 16.3%

Petrol and oil are the biggest driver of inflation here, a whopping 23.9% more costly than a year ago. There has also been a huge 17.1% increase in the price of motor vehicles on top of a hefty 12.5% increase in vehicle tax and insurance over the same period.


Household goods are up 10.2%

Furniture is 15.3% more costly than a year ago while furnishing have gone up by 8.1%. Electrical appliances increased by 10.1%. Other household equipment (items such as gas cookers, gas fires, cutlery and bakeware) is up by 14.4% over the same period.


NOTE: Why RPI not CPI?


We recently quoted Money Week’ who noted that government like to use the inflation indicator that suits them.

Unite strongly recommends using the Retail Price Index (RPI) for negotiations because it more closely reflects the actual price rises experienced by Unite members. The RPI has been going since 1947. It is still used to decide prices such as mobile phone bills, rail fares, student loans and ‘sin’ taxes e.g. alcohol. 

Some employers prefer the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which the government introduced in 2004 as a measure of inflation. The CPI is calculated using a different mathematical model which tends to make it lower. It includes the spending of groups not usually relevant to our negotiations. It doesn’t include the price rises our members experience in paying for mortgages or foreign holidays.

In RPI but not in CPI

 In CPI but not in RPI

Mortgage payments

The top 4% of households by income

What you spend on holiday

Pensioner only households 


Stock brokers fees


Spending by foreign tourists



17 February 2022


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