HC Deb 22 January 1918 vol 101 cc784-5
73. Sir J. D. REES

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will take immediate steps to make generally known throughout the United Kingdom the fact that the Board of Trade's calculation that the cost of living has increased 105 per cent, since the War began is subject to such drastic qualifications that the figure might with equal accuracy be given as 59 per cent.; and whether the Ministry of Food intends to await the result of an examination of the figures by a Special Committee not yet appointed before correcting or explaining the true signification of figures upon which action of high financial and economic significance has in no small measure been based?


The article in the "Labour Gazette" which contains the estimate as to a rise in retail prices stated at 105 per cent. contains also the qualifying paragraph which was quoted in my answer of 16th January. Moreover, I would point out that the article in question is not headed "Cost of Living," but "Course of Retail Prices of Food," and that the paragraph in which considerations affecting changes in the cost of food expenditure are introduced is that in which the rise of 59 per cent. is referred to. It is to be regretted that so little attention has been given to this important paragraph, but I do not see what further publicity can be given.