HC Deb 15 December 1953 vol 522 c174
1. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent the internal purchasing power of the £ sterling has fallen since October, 1951.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. R. A. Butler)

The internal purchasing power of the £is estimated to have been about 18s. 10d. in October, 1953, as compared with 20s. in October, 1951. This calculation is based on the price index for all consumer goods and services, calculated annually for national income purposes, for the years 1951 and 1952, and the Interim Index of Retail Prices since then.

Mr. Hynd

How does the Chancellor relate the unfortunate fall in the value of the £ to the Conservative Party's pledges at the General Election?

Mr. Butler

I relate it in this way, that we said we would do our best to control the value of the £ and we have done so. We have been infinitely more successful than was the hon. Gentleman's Government.

Mr. Gower

Has my right hon. Friend noted the report drawn up by the Liberal Party, which has commented on the fact that the cost of living has been more stable during the last two years than at any time since the war?

Mr. Butler

I would look to the Liberal Party for support if I could see any of them here, but in any case I am very much obliged for this evidence of their continued adherence to our views and policy.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is it not the case that, while the internal price level has risen, as indicated by the Chancellor, the price level of imports has fallen by some 12 or 15 per cent.?

Mr. Butler

As I have repeatedly said in this House and elsewhere, the general economy has been assisted by the trend of world trade. Nevertheless, the confidence factors introduced by the policy of Her Majesty's Government have also had a considerable effect.