Consumer Prices Index Including Owner-Occupiers’ Housing Costs (CPIH)
Thank you for the positive engagement of yourself and colleagues during our follow-up review of ONS’s development of CPIH – Consumer Prices Index including Owner-Occupiers’ Housing Costs (OOH). This review follows our letter from July 2017, when the UK Statistics Authority re-designated CPIH as National Statistics. We focused on the two key areas from our previous letter: providing analyses about OOH, and continuing to build effective user engagement.
Your ongoing publication of comparative analyses continues to provide reassurance about various aspects of the CPIH. We particularly welcome that since you have gained access to record-level data from the Valuation Office Agency, you are reviewing alternative ways to estimate OOH. In addition, we see ONS’s innovation in integrating web-scraped prices and those gleaned from scanner data as leading-edge developments in measuring inflation resulting in significant improvements to the methods and accuracy of the CPIH statistics. Also, these new methods should lead to improved product coverage, higher frequency of collection and potential cost savings.
We commend the steps that ONS has taken to enhance engagement with users, in particular your engagement with the Stakeholder and Technical Advisory Panels on Consumer Prices. Setting out the landscape of inflation statistics through the use cases will continue to be important particularly in the light of proposed changes to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) and the development of Household Costs Indices (HCIs). We recognise your commitment to keep the use cases updated.
We have expanded on the above points in an attached annex. I am copying this letter to Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics.
Assessment Programme Lead
Annex: This annex sets out the main findings of our review
Ed Humpherson to John Pullinger: Consumer Prices Index including Owner Occupiers’ Housing Costs (CPIH) re-designation