35. Colonel NEWMAN
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that persons who have made investigations and are competent to give an opinion have formed the conclusion that, taking into consideration the change in the habits of the people since the year 1904, the cost of living now amounts to a rise of 80 per cent, as compared with 1914 and not 140 per cent.; and will he take the necessary steps to have their evidence brought before the statistical branch of his Department?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
Accurate information as to the changes in the habits of the people since 1914 could only be obtained by means of elaborate and comprehensive investigations into the amount and distribution of family expenditure. I am not aware that any investigations of this character have recently been made on the scale that would be necessary if trustworthy statistics were to be compiled as to the change in the average level of expenditure since 1914, and I may remind my hon. and gallant Friend that at the present time, even if such investigations were instituted, the results would be materially affected by the reduction in purchasing power caused by the present depression in employment.
§ Sir W. DAVISON
Has the right hon. Gentleman taken into consideration the amount of butter required in this Estimate, and is that amount available?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I appeal to the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. Jones) not to interrupt. If he desires to have any particular piece of information, I am always ready to call upon him.