£100 in 1985 is worth £305.00 today

Why a pound today is worth only 33% of a pound in 1985

Updated: September 11, 2020

According to the Office for National Statistics composite price index, today's prices in 2020 are 205.00% higher than average prices since 1985. This means that a pound today only buys 32.79% of what it could buy in 1985. The British pound experienced an average inflation rate of 3.24% per year during this period, causing the real value of a pound to decrease.

In other words, £100 in 1985 is equivalent in purchasing power to about £305.00 in 2020, a difference of £205.00 over 35 years.

The 1985 inflation rate was 6.08%. The current year-over-year inflation rate (2019 to 2020) is now 1.50%1. If this number holds, £100 today will be equivalent in buying power to £101.50 next year.


Inflation from 1985 to 2020
Cumulative price change 205.00%
Average inflation rate 3.24%
Converted amount (£100 base) £305.00
Price difference (£100 base) £205.00
CPI in 1985 373.200
CPI in 2020 1,138.243
Inflation in 1985 6.08%
Inflation in 2020 1.50%

GBP Inflation since 1750
Annual Rate, the Office for National Statistics CPI
Download

Buying power of £100 in 1985

This chart shows a calculation of buying power equivalence for £100 in 1985 (price index tracking began in 1750).

For example, if you started with £100, you would need to end with £305.00 in order to "adjust" for inflation (sometimes refered to as "beating inflation").

When £100 is equivalent to £305.00 over time, that means that the "real value" of a single U.K. pound decreases over time. In other words, a pound will pay for fewer items at the store.

This effect explains how inflation erodes the value of a pound over time. By calculating the value in 1985 dollars, the chart below shows how £100 is worth less over 35 years.

According to the Office for National Statistics, each of these GBP amounts below is equal in terms of what it could buy at the time:

Pound inflation: 1985-2020
Year Pound Value Inflation Rate
1985 £100.00 6.08%
1986 £103.40 3.40%
1987 £107.72 4.17%
1988 £113.00 4.90%
1989 £121.78 7.78%
1990 £133.31 9.46%
1991 £141.13 5.87%
1992 £146.41 3.74%
1993 £148.74 1.59%
1994 £152.33 2.41%
1995 £157.61 3.47%
1996 £161.41 2.41%
1997 £166.48 3.14%
1998 £172.19 3.43%
1999 £174.84 1.54%
2000 £180.01 2.96%
2001 £183.20 1.77%
2002 £186.25 1.67%
2003 £191.64 2.89%
2004 £197.35 2.98%
2005 £202.92 2.82%
2006 £209.41 3.20%
2007 £218.38 4.29%
2008 £227.09 3.99%
2009 £225.88 -0.53%
2010 £236.31 4.61%
2011 £248.61 5.20%
2012 £256.59 3.21%
2013 £264.39 3.04%
2014 £270.63 2.36%
2015 £273.31 0.99%
2016 £278.05 1.74%
2017 £288.02 3.58%
2018 £295.18 2.48%
2019 £300.49 1.80%
2020 £305.00 1.50%*
* Compared to previous annual rate. Not final. See inflation summary for latest 12-month trailing value.
Click to show 29 more rows

This conversion table shows various other 1985 amounts in today's pounds, based on the 205.00% change in prices:

Conversion Table: Value of a pound today
Initial value Equivalent value
£1 pound in 1985 £3.05 pounds today
£5 pounds in 1985 £15.25 pounds today
£10 pounds in 1985 £30.50 pounds today
£50 pounds in 1985 £152.50 pounds today
£100 pounds in 1985 £305.00 pounds today
£500 pounds in 1985 £1,524.98 pounds today
£1,000 pounds in 1985 £3,049.96 pounds today
£5,000 pounds in 1985 £15,249.78 pounds today
£10,000 pounds in 1985 £30,499.55 pounds today
£50,000 pounds in 1985 £152,497.77 pounds today
£100,000 pounds in 1985 £304,995.54 pounds today
£500,000 pounds in 1985 £1,524,977.71 pounds today
£1,000,000 pounds in 1985 £3,049,955.41 pounds today

How to Calculate Inflation Rate for £100 since 1985

Our calculations use the following inflation rate formula to calculate the change in value between 1985 and today:

CPI today CPI in 1985
×
1985 GBP value
=
Today's value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The U.K. CPI was 373.2 in the year 1985 and 1138.2433607545 in 2020:

1138.2433607545373.2
×
£100
=
£305.00

£100 in 1985 has the same "purchasing power" or "buying power" as £305.00 in 2020.

To get the total inflation rate for the 35 years between 1985 and 2020, we use the following formula:

CPI in 2020 - CPI in 1985CPI in 1985
×
100
=
Cumulative inflation rate (35 years)

Plugging in the values to this equation, we get:

1138.2433607545 - 373.2373.2
×
100
=
205%

News headlines from 1985

Politics and news often influence economic performance. Here's what was happening at the time:

  • Mikhail Gorbachev replaces Konstantin Chernenko as leader of the Soviet Union.
  • Earthquake with a magnitude of 8.1 rocks Mexico City and kills 10,000 people, leaving over 250,000 homeless.
  • Mikhail Gorbachev (leader of the Soviet Union) and Ronald Reagan (President of the United States) meet for the first time.
  • Ernie Wise makes the first mobile phone call in the UK.

Data Source & Citation

Raw data for these calculations comes from the composite price index published by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS). A composite index is created by combining price data from several different published sources, both official and unofficial. The Consumer Price Index, normally used to compute inflation, has only been tracked since 1988. All inflation calculations after 1988 use the Office for National Statistics' Consumer Price Index, except for 2017, which is based on The Bank of England's forecast.

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “Value of 1985 pounds today | UK Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 1 Oct. 2020, https://www.officialdata.org/uk/inflation/1985?amount=&startYear=&future_pct=.

Special thanks to QuickChart for their chart image API, which is used for chart downloads.

in2013dollars.com is a reference website maintained by the Official Data Foundation.


Ian Webster

About the author

Ian Webster is an engineer and data expert based in San Mateo, California. He has worked for Google, NASA, and consulted for governments around the world on data pipelines and data analysis. Disappointed by the lack of clear resources on the impacts of inflation on economic indicators, Ian believes this website serves as a valuable public tool. Ian earned his degree in Computer Science from Dartmouth College.

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Inflation from 1985 to 2020
Cumulative price change 205.00%
Average inflation rate 3.24%
Converted amount (£100 base) £305.00
Price difference (£100 base) £205.00
CPI in 1985 373.200
CPI in 2020 1,138.243
Inflation in 1985 6.08%
Inflation in 2020 1.50%