LETTER : No censorship on index

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I WOULD like to correct several inaccuracies in "New index heralds inflation rise" (19 February).

First, the changes to the Retail Prices Index First Release announced last week do not constitute a switch away from either the all-items RPI or the all-items RPI excluding mortgage interest payments. These measures will continue to be produced and published as before, and the headline all-items RPI remains the benchmark for pensions and benefits uprating. The new index is only one of several that we publish to meet our customers' diverse requirements.

Second, the Tax and Price Index will continue to be calculated and published in the Retail Prices Index Business Monitor. It will no longer be shown in the RPI First Release because of the limited demand in recent years. We will monitor customer reaction to this decision and if there is a renewed demand we will consider reinstating it.

We are making these changes in order to maintain the quality and relevance of our output by giving our users the statistics that they want. We are committed to continuing to do this.

Marta Haworth

Head of Consumer Prices and General Inflation Branch

Central Statistical Office

London SW1

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