An article appeared in the Observer on 18 September 2011 suggesting that ONS has agreed to investigate using alternative measures of inflation to apply to the calculation of benefits and pensions.
Pam Davies, Head of Prices Division, wrote to explain that this was not the case.
Contrary to your assertion ('Statistics body agrees to review use of CPI in benefit calculations', Sunday 18th September), ONS has not agreed to investigate the use of alternative measures of inflation to apply to benefits and pensions. Section 150 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 states that decisions on how inflation indices are used in the determination of rates of benefits and pension payments, and in policy-making more generally are matters for Ministers and Parliament.
ONS continues to engage with stakeholders of consumer price statistics. As we said in an article published in August this year, we are in the process of setting up a user group for consumer prices. We will seek feedback from this group to help shape the forward work programme for consumer prices. This will supplement the other channels we have for user engagement, including via the Consumer Prices Advisory Committee. The ONS, under the guidance of the UK Statistics Authority, makes decisions on the range of consumer price statistics that are published. It is for others to decide how those statistics are used.
Head of Prices Division
Office for National Statistics
Newport NP10 8XG