What is the Living Costs and Food Survey (LCF)?
The Living Costs and Food survey (LCF) records the spending and cost of living patterns that reflect UK household budgets. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) collects, compiles and distributes the survey across the UK throughout the year. Survey results are used to understand how household spending and incomes vary across the UK and over time. This humble survey is used by the UK and European governments, Department for Transport (DfT), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and, of course, us to add depth to the data intelligence we can provide to our clients.
History & Survey Method
Since 1957 a household expenditure survey has been conducted each year in the UK. Today the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has overall responsibility for the survey. It is the most comprehensive long-term survey of lifestyle and spending habits in the UK. The audience is designed to represent the full cross section of UK society that live in private households, with 11,000 households selected for the survey panel each year. Of these about half actually complete interviews. To avoid seasonal bias the interviews are spread across the year. Once a household agrees to take part in the survey all of the residents over the age of 16 fill out an expenditure diary for 2 weeks. At the end of this period, face-to-face interviews are used to collect data on;
- Personal income
- Regular expenditure such as rent or mortgage payment
- Large and infrequent purchases such as cars or holidays
- The demographic data of the household
The LCF covers a huge range of topics related to income, spending and demographics. The survey is published with over 1,900 variables ranging from “Sausages” to “Electrical appliances for personal care, including hairdryers, shavers etc”, and “DIY improvements: Double Glazing, Kitchen Units, Sheds etc” to “Outright purchase of new or second-hand motorcycles”.
LCF data is used to set the Retail Prices Index (RPI) and Consumer Prices Index (CPI) - both of which take a sample of household costs and compare this year with previous years. The difference between the two is that the RPI accounts for rents, mortgage costs and bills, CPI does not, focusing more on consumer goods. Both of these indices are used to measure inflation.
The government also uses LCF data to estimate national and regional household spending totals. Pay review bodies for the armed forces and medical professions use the data to indicate regional differences in living costs. Statistics taken from the survey are used by European and UK government departments including Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT), HMRC and the DfT. The data is also made available to academics and private business researchers to understand expenditure patterns across the UK.
LCF and Beacon Dodsworth
Beacon Dodsworth use LCF demographic variables to enhance our P² People & Places (P²) demographic data and enrich the data in our Prospex GIS. We also produce a selected subset of the variables to illustrate useful household spend and income figures for the whole of the UK.
We use multiple years’ results to build up a base dataset of 59,000 records. To keep data anonymous, the ONS matches data to branch codes within P², rather than individuals. For each P² branch and tree code we can work out the weekly average spend, and every residential postcode in the UK can be allocated a P² branch code. This means we can model household spend and income across the whole country. This data can be summarised on postcode and admin geographies making it immediately useable to both public and private sector organisations. This rich dataset has applications across the business landscape, for example:
- Retailers can use LCF data sets to illustrate market penetration in their target areas.
- Local government can use the data to estimate demand for essential services.
- Businesses looking to expand can use the data to rank new locations by revenue potential.
Beacon Dodsworth can supply LCF data as a basic dataset to clients, however, integrating it with one of our other data sets or tools, such as P² People & Places or Prospex gives the data far wider applications. Depending on the needs of the client, we can either provide a complete tool or dataset to them for regular use, or we can offer bespoke data analysis and customised datasets as stand-alone consultancy jobs. Get in touch and we will find the most effective solution for you.
What is GIS software?
A Geographical Information System (GIS), is a tool for analysing, visualising, managing and presenting data that is related to a physical, geographical location. That link to geography is the key difference between GIS and other data visualisation techniques.
Where is the North
We've used the territory manager tool in Prospex GIS to split the UK into north, south and east and west with equal population counts.
Living Costs and Food Survey
The Living Costs and Food survey (LCF) is compiled every year and is used by the UK and European governments, Department for Transport (DfT), and Her Majesty’s Revenue and the Customs (HMRC). But what is it, and why should we care?
Using geographic intelligence to grow the UK’s broadband network
Using geographic intelligence to sustainably grow the UK’s broadband network.
How far is it to the beach
Using Beacon Dodsworth's scripting technology to showcase demographic and geographic trends.
All you need to know about postcodes but were afraid to ask
The humble postcode has been around for years. We look at how postcodes are used and what led to their introduction.
Social change over 10 years
The next census isn’t due to take place until 2021 so we thought it was a good time to take stock of some of the changes and trends we noticed between the 2001 and the 2011 census. What difference does 10 years make to our society and the people that live within it?
The power of postcode sectors
Postcode sectors are aggregations of individual postcodes and they provide meaningful geographical reporting areas in any GIS. However, they aren't as easy to map as you might think. Here is how we do it.
What is geodemographic profiling?
More than 64 million people live in the UK, each with their own outlook, priorities, needs and way of life. Geodemographic profiling offers a way to group these individuals to try and identify the right audience for your product or service.
How to back up your Prospex data
Keep your GIS projects safe by using the in-built Prospex back up process. Here is how.
Meet the team: Toby
Toby, our Sales Executive, gives a retrospective of his time teaching, and learning about Beacon Dodsworth's GIS solutions.
Household spend on fruit and vegetables
Using GIS mapping to visualise, analyse and present data in a geographical context.
What has the census ever done for us?
How Census 2011 can be used to help organisations with demographic analysis.
Geodemographics and the University of East London
The University of East London explain how they have been using our P² People & Places geodemographic classification.
Mapping GP prescription data
An article by Allan Brimicombe (Head of Centre for Geo-Information Studies at the University of East London) & Pat Mungroo on using GP prescription data to understand health needs.
Postcode to postcode drive time and distance
What happens if we want a postcode to postcode drive time lookup table?
Your continued use of this site is taken as implied consent to receive cookies from us and our analytics partners.