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Retail Price Index

Volume 983: debated on Thursday 24 April 1980

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the fiscal implications of the existing make-up of the retail price index.

The retail price index measures the rate of change of the prices of the goods and services that households buy; this necessarily includes price changes which are due to changes in indirect taxation.

The retail price index is sometimes referred to as the cost-of-living index. Does it make sense that drink and cigarettes, which some people claim contribute to dying rather than living, should be included in the cost-of-living index?

The composition of the retail price index is not directly under Government control, but the point is made.