HC Deb 01 March 1955 vol 537 cc1877-8
6. Mrs. Mann

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how far production increased during 1952, 1953, and 1954; and what effect this had on the cost-of-living index for these years.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The published Index of Industrial Production shows that there was a fall in industrial output of 2 per cent. in 1952, followed by a rise of 6 per cent. in 1953, and, probably, 6 per cent. in 1954. It is not possible to draw any conclusions as to the relationship between these estimates and changes in retail prices.

Mrs. Mann

But did not the "Economist," as well as the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Gentlemen opposite, tell us that the only way to bring the cost of living down was to increase production? How is it that when we have increased production the cost of living still goes up?

Mr. Butler

I have received many essays from the "Economist" on the subject of the hon. Lady's Question, and the common link, as she so perspicaciously remarked, is an increase in production, but there are many other factors dependent on the trend of the indices. If the hon. Lady would like me to send some of the essays I have on this subject to her, I shall be glad to do so.