Money drops in value over 30 years

Posted on 18 Dec 2020
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A three-fold increase in prices has seen the spending power of money fall by two-thirds over the past 30 years, meaning a pound today can only buy as much as 33p could in 1982, reports small business accountants Harris & Co.

As prices rise, the value of money has eroded at an average rate of 3.7% a year in the past three decades, according to research by Lloyds TSB Private Banking.

During this time, the average price for a loaf of bread has moved from 37p to £1.24, while the price of  100g of coffee has risen 176% from an average price of 97p to £2.68.

But it is the price-tag of homes and gold that have experienced the most dramatic increases. The average cost of a detached house is now six times higher than it was in 1982, while the price for a troy ounce of gold has risen by 439%.

[Related feature: How much UK house prices have really risen]

Fuel costs have also become markedly more expensive; diesel prices are now 294% higher than in 1982. 

Retail prices rose fastest in the 10 years between 1982 and 1992, at an average annual rate of 5.5%.  The lowest period of inflation was between 1992 and 2002, when prices increased by 2.4% a year on average.  Between 2002 and 2012, retail prices rose at an average of 3.3% a year.

[Related feature: What a pound could have bought you – and what it still can]

Nitesh Patel, economist at Lloyds TSB Private Banking, said: "Looking to the future, even if inflation is kept firmly under control and rises only in line with the Government"s target, it is likely that the value of money will continue to reduce significantly and decline by more than half its value by 2042." 

In 30 years’ time, Lloyds TSB calculates you will need £229 to have the same spending power as £100 today.

The changing cost of everyday items 1982 – 2012:


Average price 1982 (£)
Average price 2012 (£)
% change 1982-2012
Draught lager, per pint
Bread: white loaf, sliced, 800g
Apples, dessert, per Kg
Milk: pasteurised, per pint
Sausages: pork, per Kg
Butter: home produced, per 250g
Carrots, per Kg
Sugar: granulated, per Kg
Coffee: pure, instant, per 100g
Eggs: size 4 (55-60g), per dozen
Vehicle fuel: ultra low sulphur diesel, per Litre
Detached house, UK average
Gold: Troy Ounce

Source: Lloyds TSB based on ONS, Halifax and Thomson Reuters data.

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