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Economic Affairs Committee launches new inquiry into the use of the retail price index as a measure of inflation

Should we stop using the Retail Price Index (RPI) as a measure of inflation? Why shouldn't it be scrapped? What negative impact would changing RPI have on the people and organisations who use it?

These are some of the questions the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee will be asking two panels of witnesses later today.

Background to the inquiry

Following comments to the Committee by the Governor of the Bank of England in January 2018 that it may be time to transition away from using the retail price index (RPI), as referred to in the Committee's most recent report, Treating Students Fairly: The Economics of Post-School Education, the Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Lords is conducting a short inquiry into the use of RPI. It will conclude before the summer recess.

Witnesses

At 3:35 pm:

  • Chris Giles, Economics Editor, Financial Times
  • Paul Johnson, Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies

At 4:30 pm

  • Sir David Norgrove, Chair, UK Statistics Authority
  • Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician and Director General for Economic Statistics, Office for National Statistics.

Other questions the Committee is likely to cover in these public evidence sessions include:

  • Why is there a gap between RPI and the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?
  • Can switching index-linked gilts onto CPI to reduce Government debt interest payments?
  • Do other countries use an inflation index that is similar to RPI?
  • What are the reasons why only minimal RPI data is published?
  • How could RPI be changed?

These evidence sessions will start at 3.35pm on Tuesday 12 June in Committee Room 1 of the House of Lords.

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