Why is anyone in the government surprised at the retail sales drop and inflation rise in October (Report, 14 November)? Any normal, ie non-rich, person could tell them that in September you buy what your children need for school or winter wear – new clothes, shoes – and/or yourself, and then you wait until spring/summer. Since the government increased tuition fees to a ludicrous £9,000 and, despite their climate change denial, must be aware of the dire weather events hitting food production, I am at a loss as to why they would not have realised in advance that inflation would rise. Perhaps it really is true that they do not know the price of milk and consider fees of £9,000 to be so much small change. Maybe Iain Duncan Smith can redraw the fiscal map in the same way he is now denying child poverty exists because of a lack of money.