HC Deb 11 June 1953 vol 516 cc443-4
36. Mr. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much the national wage bill increased in each year separately since 1945.

Mr. Maudling

As the answer contains a table of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Osborne

Without having those figures, may I ask the Economic Secretary whether he will continue to make it clear to the nation that increases in wages as well as increases in dividends, if they do not come out of increased productivity, must put up the cost of living in this country and make it difficult for us to sell abroad? Will he keep on saying that?

Mr. Awbery

At the same time as he circulates those figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT, will the hon. Gentleman tell us the increase that has taken place in profits, dividends and interest during a similar period?

Mr. Maudling

If that question is put down, I will do my best to give an answer.

Mr. Harold Davies

Will the Minister inform the hon. Gentleman who asked the Question that there is something more than productivity. There is also the matter of distribution. Otherwise, the Government will get into the position of the man with a completely bald head and whiskers reaching to his feet—ample productivity, but a complete lack of distribution?

Following are the figures:

Estimates of the changes in the national wage bill from 1945 to 1951 are given in National Income and Expenditure of the United Kingdom, 1938–1946 (Cmd. 7099) and in National Income and Expenditure, 1946–1951. These changes, together with a provisional estimate of the change in 1952, are as follow:

Increase in national wage bill from previous year:

£ million
1946 240
1947 445
1948 460
1949 200
1950 240
1951 475
1952 390