The RSS has expressed further unease about the way the future of the Retail Prices Index (RPI) is being handled.
In a highly unusual step, RSS President Deborah Ashby has written to the chair of the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA), Sir David Norgrove (PDF), to express our latest concerns that RPI is to be aligned with the CPIH index, as announced in September by the Treasury and the UK Statistics Authority.
This substantial change is due to be imposed with, in our view, completely inadequate consultation. ‘It is the most radical change in the history of the index and will have a significant effect for users,’ Deborah writes. ‘We therefore feel it is completely wrong to impose this change without full consultation.’
As Deborah explains in the letter, the Society believes the consultation process should cover what changes should be made to the RPI, not just the technical aspects of how they will be implemented. The Code of Practice for Statistics stresses that the needs of statistics users should be ‘sought and acted upon’ - which clearly isn’t happening in this case.
The Society has made many public statements regarding the future of RPI, including written evidence to a recent House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee inquiry into ‘Measuring Inflation’.
The RSS National Statistics Advisory Group will discuss the issue at its next meeting, which the President will be attending, on 19 November.