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State Retirement Pension

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to include average annual increase in council tax and utility bills rather than the retail prices index as a basis for assessing the annual increase in the state retirement pension; and if he will make a statement. [114858]

I have been asked to replyThe Retail Prices Index (RPI) is representative of consumer spending patterns. The items in the RPI are kept under review and already include average council tax bills for households in Great Britain and average rates bills in Northern Ireland. Also included are amounts for utilities including water, sewerage and environmental charges, telephone charges, electricity, gas, coal and solid fuels and oil and other fuels.The full list of items can be found on the National Statistics website:, we increased the basic state pension by more than RPI in the last three years.