The Chancellor and the Work & Pensions Secretary are obliged to make an
autumn statement to Parliament setting next year's benefit and contribution
rates. State pensions are statutorily indexed each year to the RPI figure
for the September before the start of the tax year. The Chancellor and
the Work & Pensions Secretary therefore need the September RPI figures for
their statement. The RPI figures are produced by National Statistics; the
ONS website tells us that September RPI figures will not be available until 16
October 2007. There seem to be two alternatives. Either the ONS
will have to rush the figures out, only to be greeted with the inevitable
scepticism derived from past ONS errors, or the Chancellor will take two bites
at the cherry with a further statement regarding pensions and benefits on 17
October. That, of course, is why it was thought that the PBR could not
take place before 17 October.
On the face of it, this is proof that the CSR and PBR were brought forward without the Treasury thinking of the consequences. Unless, of course, you know different...