RSS President writes to National Statistician on cost of living crisis 

RSS President Professor Sylvia Richardson has written to the National Statistician, Sir Ian Diamond, on the need for inflation measures to capture the true costs for all households, as the cost of living crisis deepens in the UK.  

The letter stresses that the development of the new Household Cost Indices (HCIs) – which the RSS has long supported as a replacement for the Retail Price Index (RPI) – has a major role to play.  

The HCIs, unlike the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) which is used as the current headline measure of inflation, have been designed to capture the social, microeconomic needs of households. Given this, the RSS believes they are best able to give a clear picture on how rising costs are hitting households, including low-income ones which will be most affected.  

The Society recommends that the development of HCIs be accelerated to help understand the ongoing crisis. Currently preliminary estimates are only published annually and the current plan is for them to be only published quarterly once they have obtained National Statistic status. The RSS would like to see a commitment to publish them monthly, even as experimental statistics, along with the other indices.  

The letter flags that the cost of living crisis is not likely to be over quickly. The number of those struggling with basic needs will only continue to grow if urgent action isn’t taken to ensure we have the most accurate information on how inflation is impacting all members of society.  

Read the letter in full

Update 09.04.22: We have since received a reply from Sir Ian Diamond which says ONS is currently reviewing its capacity to progress HCIs and will engage with the RSS and others on its plans.

Read the reply from Sir Ian Diamond

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