A reader wrote in about the inflation figures, criticising the inclusion of televisions in the basket of goods and services measured, and claiming that ONS 'comes up with the figures the Government tells it to'. Karen Dunnell wrote to point out how widely based the indices were and rejecting the suggestion of political interference.
Mr Luxon (Letters, 10 January 2008) is right to draw attention to important distinctions between the CPI and the RPI. The CPI is the internationally comparable measure of inflation. It forms the basis of the Government's inflation target that the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee is required to achieve. The RPI is the more long standing general purpose measure of inflation.
He is wrong to suggest that ONS produces 'the numbers the Government tells it to'. Both the RPI and the CPI are based on a large, representative selection of 120,000 price quotes covering 650 goods and services collected monthly from around 23,000 outlets. All ONS statistics are produced free from any political interference, as has been acknowledged by many commentators including the independent Statistics Commission.
Office for National Statistics
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