§ Baroness Jeger
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is the annual cost of compiling the pensioner price indices; what is the purpose of these indices; and whether these indices, rather than the RPI, are decisive in assessing increases in pensions.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Ferrers)
The cost of compiling the "pensioner" price indices, over and above that of collecting and compiling information which is required for the general index of retail prices, is of the order of £1,000 per annum.
The purpose of the indices is to provide a measure of the impact of price changes (apart from housing costs) on pensioner households of limited means. They relate to households comprising one or two pensioners in which at least three-quarters of the total income is derived from national insurance or similar pensions or supplementary pension or allowances. These households amount to about 10 per cent. of all households and less than two-fifths of all pensioners.
Therefore the preferred measure of price movements for uprating retirement pensions continues to be the general index of retail prices.