HC Deb 09 July 1953 vol 517 cc1479-80
4. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Labour the average retail price of new potatoes taken into account for the cost-of-living index for each week during the six-week period commencing 4th May, 1953.

The Minister of Labour (Sir Walter Monckton)

In accordance with the recommendation of the Cost of Living Advisory Committee, the cost of new potatoes is not, at that time of the year, taken into account in calculating the Interim Index of Retail Prices.

Mrs. Castle

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that, owing to the policy of the Minister of Food and the Minister of Agriculture, which led to the exclusion of imports of new potatoes at a time when the home crop was totally inadequate, the failure to take the price of these potatoes into account meant that we were leaving out a very important element in the cost of living, because there were not enough old potatoes to feed the people at that period?

Sir W. Monckton

The principle has been for many years past, and the Cost of Living Advisory Committee still think it right, that in the month of May prices of potatoes used are those of old potatoes only, so long as there are reasonable quantities on sale and sufficient quotations can be obtained. That happened this year, as in the years preceding.

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