Inflation Seminar 2022

Inflation Seminar May 2022

The seminar took place on

11th May 2022 at,
Royal Statistical Society
12 Errol Street,
London EC1Y 8LX

The meeting was chaired by Tony Dent MSc – Director, Better Statistics CIC.




3.00 pm

Welcome: Introduction

Meeting Chair

Keynote 1:  Some of the effects of Inflation on UK Business

Professor Douglas McWilliams, Centre for Economic and Business Research – link to slides

Keynote 2:  Some of the effects of Inflation on Consumers

Paul Lewis, Freelance financial journalist and broadcaster.

3.25 pm

Topic 1: What are the causes of Inflation?

International influences or domestic

The rise in energy prices

Intro: Vicky Pryce, Former Joint Head Government Economic Service.

Steve Farrington, Chief of Staff, Office for Budget Responsibility – link to slides

Shaun Richards,

3.50 pm

Topic 2: How is inflation best measured?

Why we need a Household Index

Meeting today’s needs for data on changing prices

Intro: Tony Cox (RPI/ CPI Group, Stats User Forum)

Jill Leyland & John Astin,  Co-authors of  “Towards a Household Inflation Index” – link to slides

Mike Hardie, Deputy Director of Prices Division, Office of National Statistics – link to slides

4.15 pm

Topic 3: How do we best deal with it?

The role of the Monetary Policy Committee.

Wages and prices: inflation and the labour market

Intro:  Meeting Chair

Fergal Shortall, Director for Monetary Analysis, MPC of the Bank of England – link to slides

Professor Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics & Public Policy, King’s College – link to slides

4.40 pm

Open Forum Discussion

5.00 pm

Meeting closes

Please register your interest for future events below.

Our Speakers included:


Tony-Dent-headshot Tony Dent is chairman of CMR Group and past Chairman of both Sample Answers Ltd and the Alliance of International Market Research Institutes. The latter has now been submerged within the Insights Association. He is a statistician with over 40 years of International Market Research experience and has acted as a consultant to a number of companies, including the Civil Aviation Authority, DHL, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Radio Free Europe, and the Xerox Corporation. Tony holds a BSc and MSc in Mathematics and Statistics from Reading and Southampton.


douglas mcwilliamsDouglas McWilliams: Douglas is currently Deputy Chairman of Cebr, the UK economics consultancy which he founded in 1993. He is also a member of the Advisory board of e-Propelled, one of the USA’s leading start-ups, which produces innovative electric motors for pumps UAVs and vehicles. His book ‘The Flat White Economy’ (2015) topped the Amazon Business and Law Best Seller List and explains how the UK economy is becoming increasingly driven by the digital sector. His more recent book, The Inequality Paradox, was released in the UK in September 2019 and argues against the Piketty conclusion that increasing inequality is simply the result of exploitation – he points to the impact of technology and globalisation. Before founding Cebr, he was chief Economic Advisor to the CBI and the Chief Economist of IBM UK. He specialises in forecasting and the technology sector.


Paul Lewis:  Paul has been a freelance financial journalist since 1986 and writes regularly for Saga Magazine, Radio Times, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, and Money Marketing. He has presented Money Box on Radio 4 since 2000 and appears on many other radio and television programmes.  Paul has honorary doctorates from the University of Essex and the University of Chester for his work defending the interests of consumers. His own blog is at and he has more than 144,000 Twitter followers


Shaun Richards:  Shaun is an independent economist and journalist, who analyses economic events and developments for Core Finance TV, Bloomberg Radio and various publications including the Business live section of the Guardian, City-AM and the Daily Express.  A graduate of the LSE, Shaun has also worked in Tokyo and he maintains a watchful eye on inflation rates and the policies of the Bank of England, including Quantitative Easing (QE).


Jill Leyland: Jill represents the Royal Statistical Society on the National Statistician’s “Advisory Panel on Consumer Prices – Stakeholder” and she has been an Expert Witness on inflation measurement. She was a Vice President of the Royal Statistical Society from 2009 to 2012 and is a Fellow of the Society of Professional Economists. In the past she worked for the World Gold Council, the OECD, the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Government Statistical Service.


Steve FarringtonSteve Farrington has been Chief of Staff at the OBR since 2018, where he is responsible for leading the OBR’s 45 permanent members of staff. Prior to that he spent over 15 years at HMT Treasury where he was Deputy Director of Economics and oversaw HMT’s economic analysis teams, including the published assessments of the economic impact of Scottish independence and Brexit. From 2016 to 2018 he was also a member of Stakeholder Advisory Panel on Consumer Prices.

Jill Leyland and John Astin are co-authors of the 2015 seminal paper “Towards a Household Inflation Index”


John Astin; John was the EU statistician responsible for developing the Harmonised Consumer Price Index (HCPI). It was adopted in January 1996 and is used in the UK as the CPI, replacing the RPI; the development of the HCPI is described in John’s book “Measuring EU Inflation” published by Waterstones in July 2021.  Earlier John had held a number of senior posts in the UK Government Statistical Service, including head of statistics in the Department of Trade and Industry. He has been a Fellow of the RSS since 1975 and was a member of the final session of the RPI Advisory Committee.


Michael Hardie:  Mike is currently Deputy Director of Prices Division at Office for National Statistics (ONS); he is responsible for the production and dissemination of consumer, business, and house price statistics. Michael is also responsible for the transformation of consumer price statistics using new data sources and methods. Michael has previously undertaken a range of roles at ONS working on National Accounts and Balance of Payments statistics.


Jonathan Portes: Jonathan is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at King’s College London, and a Senior Fellow of UK in a Changing Europe. His current research concentrates on issues related to immigration and labour mobility, including the economic implications of Brexit.  Professor Portes spent most of his career as a civil servant, firstly at HM treasury and later serving as Chief Economist at the Department for Work and Pensions and subsequently at the Cabinet Office. From 2011 to 2015, he was Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.  His most recent book is “Immigration: what do we know”, published by Sage.


Fergal Shortall has been Director of Monetary Analysis at the Bank of England since June 2021, leading staff advice to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee on the outlook for the UK economy and, in light of that, the right policy needed to meet the 2% inflation target. Fergal joined the Bank of England in 1999 and during his career at the Bank has worked on roles in labour-market and supply-side issues, financial markets and macroeconomic forecasting.  He has led divisions of the Bank looking at the international economy and financial system, and monetary policy strategy and impact.  He also spent six years as one of the five-person secretariat charged with writing the minutes of the MPC’s policy meetings.


Vicky-Pryce-headshotMs. Vicky Pryce:  Vicky is Chief Economic Adviser and a board member at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). Vicky has held senior positions in business and the Civil service including as partner and chief economist at KPMG   and joint head of the UK government economic service.



Tony-CoxTony Cox: Tony is a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and chairman of the RPI / CPI user group within the Statistics User Forum on Stats User Net.