HC Deb 28 October 1947 vol 443 c694
50. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state in tabular form the estimated purchasing power of the £ for the years 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, and at the latest available date, taking the purchasing power of the £ in 1900 as 100; also the figures calculated-over the whole field of personal expenditure and the same figures making allowance for the cost-of-living subsidies.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Dalton)

Since the answer contains a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Sir W. Smithers

In view of the fact that the purchasing power of the £ is continually depreciating, will the Chancellor inform the House what is the good of a thousand paper pounds a week if the money is worthless and there is nothing to buy in the shops? That is the position we are facing as a result of the bucket-shop finance of the Government.

Mr. Dalton

The situation is not as black as the hon. Gentleman has painted it

Mr. W. J. Brown

Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer give the figures for 1910 and 1920?

Mr. Dalton

The figure for 1910–this is from the circulated reply—is 95, and for 1920 36 only.

Sir W. Smithers

If the Chancellor of the Exchequer thinks I am painting the picture too black, at any rate that is what we are rapidly approaching.

Following in the answer:

On a cost of living basis the figures for the different years are approximately as follow:

1910 95
1920 36
1930 58
1940 50
1947 (17th June) 45

Over the whole field of consumers' expenditure, the figure for 1946 is 39. This is the only year for which this calculation is available.

With regard to the last part of the Question, as I have previously explained, a figure which ignored the cost-of-living subsidies would have no real meaning.