RSS issues statement on ONS household index proposals

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The RSS has issued a statement responding to Office for National Statistics proposals for a new prices index based around the cost of household payments.

The RSS statement, Better measurement of inflation for households (PDF), is in response to the Office for National Statistics’ proposed Index of Household Payments, which it is currently consulting on.

In the statement, the RSS points out that it has ‘consistently argued that the UK needs an index which reflects how price changes affect households’, to complement the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), which measures the price of consumer goods and services for the overall economy. In 2015 the Society commissioned a paper by Jill Leyland and John Astin, ‘Towards a Household Inflation Index’ (PDF).

The RSS says the new index could potentially replace the Retail Prices Index (which lost its status as a national statistic in 2013) and could be an important tool in, for example, pay negotiations, since it has many features in common with RPI while correcting ‘some of the deficiencies’. The new index could also potentially cover all elements of household expenditure, including, unlike the CPI, interest payments and all owner occupiers' costs – and would weight by household rather than expenditure. The RSS stresses that the new index should be published monthly alongside the CPI.

Mike Hughes, who chairs the RSS National Statistics Advisory Group, says: ‘We have long since supported the development of a household payments index and are delighted that ONS are now taking forward these proposals.'

An open meeting on the proposed index, organised by the RPI/CPI User Group, will be held at the RSS at 12-2pm on 12 September - click here to register.

Jill Leyland Office for National Statistics (ONS) Inflation National Statistics Advisory Group (NSAG) Price Indices

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