§ 11. Mr. H. Hynd
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the purchasing value of the £ sterling at the latest available date as compared with its purchasing power in October, 1951.
§ 44. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much the purchasing power of the £ sterling has varied since October, 1951.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
Taking the figure for October, 1951, as 20s., the corresponding figure for December, 1952, was 18s. 7d. This answer is based on the Interim Index of Retail Prices of the Ministry of Labour.
§ Mr. Butler
If the hon. Gentleman will look a little backwards and take the previous year from October, 1950, to October, 1951, based on exactly the same basis and certainly on the same calculation, he will see that the figure was 17s. 10d. under his Government as compared with 18s. 7d. under the Conservative Government.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
Is the Chancellor aware that this cut of more than 7 per cent. in the value of the £ which has taken place since the present Government took office represents a very real hardship, and puts the housewife in the position of finding that the domestic budget cannot be balanced?
§ Mr. Lewis
Can the Chancellor explain why there should be this depreciation in the purchasing value of the £, particularly, as we all know, when world prices are falling and have been falling rapidly, as against the price increases when the Labour Government were in office? Will he do something to mend the hole in the pocket?
§ Mr. Butler
I have already indicated in an answer to an earlier Question, that the cost of living has risen by only half a point between the Budget and December of last year, which is a very great improvement on the record of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I can only say that we intended, and that we intend, to tackle the cost of living. We have had a certain degree of success and we intend to go forward.