HC Deb 26 October 1949 vol 468 c1314
24. Mr. Pickthorn

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the expected rise in the cost-of-living index in each West Indian colony, or generally, consequent on devaluation; and what is being done to minimise the effect on the real incomes of the masses.

Mr. Creech Jones

The cost of living in the West Indian colonies will inevitably be affected by the increase in the sterling prices of necessary food and other imports from dollar sources, and also by any price increases in sterling goods which may occur. It is not yet possible to make any precise assessment. The problem is naturally receiving urgent consideration by the Governments concerned, but I cannot yet make any statement as to what measures they may consider necessary.

Mr. Pickthorn

Is it not possible to make some statement, not perhaps extremely precise; and cannot the right hon. Gentleman at least be so precise as to be sure that the rise will be greater in the West Indies than the Chancellor of the Exchequer promised it would be here?

Mr. Creech Jones

Well, that is just possible, but I must wait until the discussions with the Colonial Governments have been concluded.