§ Mr. David Shaw
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the main price indices used in each EU member state; and what assessment he has made of their(a) basis, (b) data collection procedures and (c) methods of calculation relative to those used in the United Kingdom. 
§ Mr. Oppenheim
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the chief executive of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.613W
Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. David Shaw, dated 5 March 1997:The Chancellor of the Exchequer has asked me to reply as the Director of the Office for National Statistics to your recent question on the main price indices used in each EU Member State; and what assessment has been made on their basis, data collection procedures and methods of calculation relative to those used in the United Kingdom.All EU Member States produce a consumer price index (CPI) based on the expenditure patterns of consumers in their country for national purposes. The last study of EU national prices indices was carried out by Rudolf Teekens of the Institute of Social Studies in the 1989 Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities, publication Consumer Price Indices in the EC—Similarities, Differences and Proposals for Harmonisation, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library. A table from the report listing the main prices indices for each country is attached. This is the latest information available but it is possible that the situation has changed since the report was produced.In addition to nation price indices the EU Member States have been working with Eurostat for over three years to produce harmonised measures of inflation expressly for the purposes of comparisons across Member States. This has involved assessment of the basis of the indices, the data collection procedures and the method of calculation in each country.These harmonised inflation figures will be used to inform decisions on which Member States meet the conditions to participate in EMU under Article 109j of the Treaty on European Union. However, they are not intended to replace existing national CPIs. The RPI remains the best indicator of UK consumer price inflation.This programme of harmonisation has lead to the production of Harmonised indices of consumer prices (HICP) by each Member State, Norway and Iceland. The first figures for all 15 Member States will be published by the EC on 7 March 1997. The figures for the UK were published by ONS on 26 February 1997.
Table: A.1 Country Name of the Index, Widest Field of Observation D Cost-of-Living Index for all Private Households (Preisindex fur die Lebenshaltung aller Privaten Haushalte) published items of expenditure: 755 G Consumer Price Index for Urban Households of Workers and Employees (Indice des Prix à la Consommation des Ménages Urbains dont le chef est ouvrier ou employé published items of expenditure: 296 I National Consumer Price Index (Prezzi al Comsumo per l'intera Collettività Nazionale) published items of expenditure: 878 NL Consumer Price Index for the Whole Population (Prijsindexcijfer van de Gezinsconsumptie voor de Totale Bevolking) published items of expenditure: 690 B Consumer Price Index (Indice des Prix à la Consommation) published items of expenditure: 401 L Consumer Price Index (Indice des Prix à la Consommation) published items of expenditure: 255 UK General Index of Retail Prices published items of expenditure: 394 IRL Consumer Price index published items of expenditure: 722
Table: A.1 Country Name of the Index, Widest Field of Observation DK Consumer Price Index (Forbrugerprisindeks) published items of expenditure: 523 G Consumer Price Index published items of expenditure: 386 E Consumer Price Index (Indice de Precios de Consumo) published items of expenditure: 428 P Consumer Price Index (Indice de Precos no Consumidor) published items of expenditure: 500