Written Answers. - Consumer Price Index.

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

160 Mr. O'Shea asked the Taoiseach the proposals he has to remove tobacco from the consumer price index; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20408/00]

The Irish CPI is compiled by the Central Statistics Office, CSO, in line with best international standards. Under the Statistics Act, 1993, the Director General of the CSO has sole responsibility for, and is independent in deciding, the statistical methodology and professional standards to be used.

The CPI is designed to measure the change in the average level of prices, inclusive of all indirect taxes, paid for consumer goods and services by all private households in the country. Since tobacco products account for a significant proportion of household expenditure they are, therefore, correctly included in the CPI. This is consistent with standard international statistical practice.

The CSO publishes a sub-index excluding tobacco, thus enabling users to choose, or reach a consensus on, the most appropriate index to use for specific purposes.