HC Deb 02 May 1950 vol 474 cc1549-50
6. Mr. Osborne

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to establish a new cost-of-living index in the place of the old index, which was abandoned in 1947.

Mr. Isaacs

The substitution of a permanent index of retail prices to replace the present interim index which has been compiled since June, 1947, will involve as a first step the collection of a series of family budgets of expenditure. The matter is kept under constant review, and as soon as conditions are appropriate steps will be taken to institute a new family budget inquiry.

Mr. Osborne

Since it is two and a half years since the old index was discarded, is it not time that a new index was compiled, since so many millions are dependent upon a reliable index?

Mr. Isaacs

We recognise that, but on the other hand it must be borne in mind that we must take steps to hold a further inquiry into family budgets and that we cannot spare the manpower required for that yet.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

Would my right hon. Friend consider including vegetables at current prices in the index?

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

Will the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is not the slightest chance of opportunities being provided for having a family budget inquiry during the existence of the present Government?

Mr. Isaacs

That is a matter of opinion