HC Deb 10 November 1955 vol 545 cc1989-90
22. Captain Pilkington

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the labour cost per unit of output today compares with that of five years ago.

Sir E. Boyle

Between 1950 and 1954 labour costs per unit of industrial output increased by 23 per cent., and the evidence available indicates that they have continued to rise during this year.

Captain Pilkington

Can my hon. Friend say what are the main reasons why this has come about, and how badly it affects our export position?

Sir E. Boyle

I shall not give a short answer to that today, because this is really a subject which we could consider more profitably at length in a debate.

Mr. Bottomley

Is not one of the causes the fact that the £ today is worth only 17s. 3d. compared with when the Conservatives took office?

Sir E. Boyle

The real standard of living for the wage earners has increased under the present Government, whereas, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, it fell during the last four years of the Labour Government.

Mr. Warbey

Does not the Economic Secretary agree that the figure which he has given is based on completely "phoney" statistics which do not take into account the increases in the general price level in the period in question? Will he give the corrected figure based on the value of the output and not merely on the quantity?

Sir E. Boyle

I have no doubt that the official figures on which this answer is based are much more accurate than any statistics which the hon. Member himself has.

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