Tuesday, December 24, 2019

January meeting of Cumbria County Council

The January meeting of Cumbria County Council will be held at 10 am on Thursday 9th January in the Council Chamber at County Hall in Kendal.

The meeting will be open to the public - or at least, to those members who can afford to take a day off and spend it in Kendal.

The Agenda can be found on the County Council website here.

Items of interest

1) The annual presentation from Cumbria Constabulary

2) A presentation from the "Children in Care Council."

In the interests of transparency I should probably also mention that County Councillor's allowances for the forthcoming year are also on the agenda. The Independent Review Panel is recommending that the basic allowance and most special responsibility allowances be increased by 2%.

This compares with the latest inflation figures from ONS of a 2.2% increase on the RPI measure but only 1.5% increase year on year to November on the CPI measure.

Suspect there may be some debate around this ...


Anonymous said...

Still using a discredited measure, shouldn't you be arguing for CPI to be used?

Chris Whiteside said...

There are various ways to measure inflation and about the only thing which most economists and statisticians agree on is that no one measure is perfect.

In my professional work I would look at all the main measures to get the best picture of what is going on and then use whichever seemed most relevant to the specific target group.

There is considerable disagreement among economists and statisticians about whether the RPI or the CPI is the better measure of inflation. But many would concur with the view which Simon Briscoe gave in a note produced for the RSS (Royal Statistical Society) meeting held on 13 June 2018, as follows:

"There are many different purposes for a price index. No one price index fulfils any one of those stated purposes perfectly. No one index is perfect for all purposes. Considering the purpose of the price index is the obvious starting point for analysing its appropriateness."

I think that the RPI should be a tool in the locker, but the RPI advisory committee which ran for forty years until Gordon Brown's unwise decision to scrap it should be re-created, so that proper governance is in place which might have prevented the problems which the House of Lords recommended in January this year should be fixed.

Incidentally there are also governance issues with the CPI.

I am sympathetic to the view that the current policy of governments of all parties to "cherry pick" which index to use by uprating charges in line with RPI but using CPI to index payments, while helpful to the national finances, looks unfair to those who have to pay the former and receive the latter.

It is also fair to point out, as may well come up in the debate on councillors' allowances, that the most recent annual rates of increase for the two measures are:

RPI - 2.2%
CPI - 1.5%

I have added this information to the main post.

The report to councillors does not mention either measure of inflation, or any other, which I regard as a significant omission.