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Goverment may tackle ‘shortcomings’ of rail fare-setting RPI

THE Government is placing the highly controversial Retail Prices Index or RPI under the microscope, the Chancellor has confirmed.

The RPI each July is used as the basis for rail fare changes the following January, but it has been criticised because the Office of National Statistics no longer recognises it as a realistic measure.

Campaigners want the lower Consumer Prices Index to be used instead. However, rail unions reacted sharply to a suggestion by former transport secretary Chris Grayling in July 2018 that the RPI should also no longer be used as a yardstick when increasing the pay of railway staff. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said at the time that his union would fight any attempt to impose a ‘pay cap’ on its members.

Chancellor Sajid Javid has now told the Commons in a written statement that a joint consultation involving the Government and the UK Statistics Authority to address ‘shortcomings’ in the Index will be launched on Budget Day, 11 March, and run for six weeks.

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