HC Deb 19 July 1910 vol 19 cc1066-7

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman's attention has been directed to Mr. Consul Ladenburg's Report on the trade of the Grand Duchy of Baden for the year 1909, which states that wages during the year in question increased at a greater rate than the cost of material, number of workmen, or amount of sales, and that the level of wages has gone up more than that of the prices of eighteen kinds of the main necessaries of life; and whether, seeing that several political and economic authorities from this country who have recently visited the Grand Duchy have reported in a contrary sense, he can allay the uncertainty at present prevailing on the matter by publishing official figures from the office of the Board of Trade?


I am aware of the statements made in the Report of Mr. Consul Ladenburg with regard to the relative advances in wages and the cost of living in Germany in recent years. These statements, however, appear to relate to different parts of the German Empire and to different periods of years. The question as to the true movement of real wages in Germany as measured by purchasing power in recent years is the subject of acute controversy among Germans themselves, and so far as I am aware no conclusion has yet been arrived at in the matter by the official statisticians of Germany. I regret, therefore, that I can see no immediate prospect of being able to allay the uncertainty to which the hon. Member refers.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he thinks that the persons who have reported in a contrary sense can be properly described as responsible?


Is it not the case that certain Consuls have reported in their Consular Reports to the effect that the cost of living has risen to a higher rate?


There have been Reports made as to the purchasing power of wages, but as regards the two deputations, I do not think it is my business to distinguish between them or to settle how far they are right.