HC Deb 02 April 1953 vol 513 c1349
30. Sir E. Keeling

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the cost of living and the value of the £ in 1919 compare with the cost and value now.

Mr. Maudling

As the answer is rather long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Sir E. Keeling

Has my right hon. Friend guessed that the purpose of my Question is to draw attention to the unjust treatment of officers who retired under the 1919 scale of retired pay, some of whom today are getting 9½ per cent. less than they got under that scale, although they were promised that if the cost of living went up retired pay would rise?

Mr. Maudling

I must say that that supplementary question seems to go somewhat beyond the orginal Question.

Following is the answer:

There is no official index which serves to measure the change in the cost of living, on a comparable basis, between 1919 and the present time. If the various indices of price for the period are used it is possible to calculate that, taking the purchasing power of the £ as 20s. in 1919, the corresponding figure for February, 1953, was 12s. 2d.

The basis of this calculation is as follows:

  1. (a) Between 1919 and 1938 the Ministry of Labour Cost of Living Index is used.
  2. (b) Between 1938 and 1952 the price index for all consumer goods and services calculated annually for national income purposes is used.
  3. (c) Since 1952 the index is provisionally brought up to date by using the Ministry of Labour Interim Index of Retail Prices, which is the only official price index available monthly.