§ 1 and 2. Mr. Liddall
asked the Minister of Labour (1) the approximate cost-of-living index percentage rise at December, 1937, as compared with November, 1933, in relation to all commodities, in addition to or including coal usually bought for working-class houses, as a result of the increase in the cost of coal used for producing the usual commodities and services required by working-class households;
(2) the approximate percentage increase in the cost-of-living index at December, 1937, as compared with November, 1933, in relation to all foods, commodities, and services required by working-class households for the production and provision of which coal is necessary; to what extent the increase in the index figure is due to the increase in the cost of coal; and will he exclude from the calculations the additional approximate increase in the index figure caused by the rise in the 512 cost of coal usually bought as firing for working-class houses and state it separately?
§ The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Brown)
At 1st December, 1937, the cost-of-living index figure showed a rise of 17 points, or nearly 12 per cent., as compared with 1st November, 1933. During the same period there was an increase of about 10 per cent. on average, in the retail price of coal used as fuel in working-class households; the effect of this increase was to raise the cost-of-living index figure by approximately nine-tenths of one point, or about two-thirds of 1 per cent. I regret that the information in my possession is insufficient to enable me to state to what extent the rise in the index number was due to increases in the cost of coal used in the production and provision of the commodities and services required by working-class households, and I am afraid it is impracticable to classify those commodities and services in two groups, according to whether coal is or is not required for their production and provision.