HC Deb 04 November 1954 vol 532 cc579-80
16

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what has been the drop in the value of the £ sterling from the end of December, 1945, to September, 1954; and what was the rise in retail prices on the same basis;

(2) what was the drop in the value of the £ sterling from July, 1946, to September, 1954; and what was the rise in the retail prices on the same basis; and

(3) what was the drop in the value of the £ sterling from January, 1946, to June, 1947; and what was the rise in the retail prices on the same basis.

I will, with permission, circulate the reply, which contains a number of figures, in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

While thanking the hon. Gentleman for that information, could the Minister tell me whether, in his examination of the problem, he has ascertained what are the rises in percentages on the Treasury index from four years ago to the present time, as compared with the Ministry of Labour index during the same period? Is it his experience that the rise in prices is much the same in both indices?

There are two indices. There is the index of consumer goods and services, which comes out annually, and there is the Ministry of Labour index. In our experience, they move very much in the same way together.

Would my hon. Friend, at the same time, indicate the increase in the value of real wages in the same period?

It seems to be very much the same. The calculation can be made from the same indices.

Following is the reply: The basis for these answers is the price index for all consumer goods and services, calculated annually for national income purposes, for the period from 1945 to 1953, and the interim index of retail prices thereafter. Monthly figures are not available on a comparable basis for the period before June, 1947. For both December, 1945, and January, 1946, therefore, the base figure used is the average of the two yearly indices for 1945 and 1946, and for July, 1946, the average for the year 1946. On that basis, the answers are as follows:
 — Fall in purchasing power of £ Increase in retail prices s.d. 1. December, 1945 20 0 100 September, 1954 13 5 149 2. July, 1946 20 0 100 September, 1954 13 7 147 3. January, 1946 20 0 100 June, 1947 18 6 108