The shrinking value of your pound: remember when a pint cost 14p?


hand holding a pint of lager

People of a certain age will always experience a modicum of shock when they discover the price of anything. It's hardly surprising: 40 years ago you could buy four pints of milk, two loaves of bread, and dozen eggs - and still have change from a pound.

Since then, research has revealed that the value of the pound has shrunk by over 90%.
Analysis by Lloyds Bank has revealed that the power of the pound has fallen by 6.1% a year for the past 40 years. Prices rose fastest between 1973 and 1983 - when they were up 13.1%, but even between 2003 and 2013 they rose 3.3%.

Price rises

The dramatic changes can be seen in the rising prices since 1973
A pint of lager cost 14p. Today it's £2.87
A loaf of bread cost 11p. Today it's £1.30
A pint of milk cost 6p. Today it's 46p
250g of butter was 13p. Now it's £1.42
A dozen eggs were 33p. Today they're £2.78
A Kg of apples cost 28p. Today they're £2.02
A Kg of carrots cost 11p. Now they're 91p
A Kg of sausages cost 58p. Today they're £4.84
A Kg of sugar was 11p. Today it's 93p
Instant coffee was 28p. Today it's £2.67
A kg of self-raising flour was 15p. Today it's £1.19
A litre of diesel fuel was 8p. Today it's £1.41
A detached property cost just under £17,000. Today it's just over £305,000.

The researchers found that the biggest percentage increases were in the price of a pint, followed by diesel - as buyers have felt the effects of both inflation and increasing taxation on both.

The next fastest rise was in the price of houses - which is up 1699% over 40 years.

And in the shopping basket, the biggest percentage rise was in the price of bread, followed by butter, coffee, sugar, eggs, sausages, carrots and flour.


The bank also looked at what would happen to prices if they rose at a more modest 2.8% a year for the next 40 years. Over that time the buying power of the pound would fall another 67% - so a weekly shop that costs £100 today would set you back £311 in 2053.

All this means not only that £1 isn't what it once was, but that looking ahead, young people need to think very hard about retirement. Someone retiring in 40 years might be aiming for a retirement pot of about £100,000. At the moment it's a fair chunk of cash which will produce an annual income of around £5,750. When combined with the state pension it would put most pensioners over the bare minimum required for life in retirement.

However, when you factor in the declining value of the pound - even assuming that annuity rates stay exactly the same - you would need a pension pot of £311,000 to secure the same income in real terms. When you look at it like that, the fact you can no longer buy a round with change from 50p seems like the least of your worries.

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