§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what period the new retail prices index for foreign holidays measures the increase in the price of such holidays; for what reason table 18.2 of the "Monthly Digest of Statistics" did not give figures for the period before February; if he will publish(a) the corresponding figures for January 1987 and August 1992 and (b) the items which are covered under this heading; how the information is obtained; and what weight is given to different kinds of such holidays.
§ Mr. Nelson
Foreign holidays were introduced into the retail prices index with effect from February 1993. Table 18–2 of the "Monthly Digest of Statistics" should have made it clear that the price index for foreign holidays is calculated on the base January 1993 =100. No earlier figures are available. The holidays included in the foreign holidays index, as indicators, are carefully chosen to be representative of those holiday destinations visited by United Kingdom citizens. The importance of individual holidays is determined by information from the international passenger survey, tour operators and travel agents. In 1993 the weight attached to foreign holidays in the retail prices index is 30 out of 1,000. This reflects expenditures reported by households in the continuous family expenditure survey.
The report of the Retail Prices Index Advisory Committee (Cm 2142) includes a description of the method used to construct the index for foreign holidays. Copies of the report are available in the House Library.