HC Deb 02 February 1956 vol 548 cc1070-2
34. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he now intends to take to secure stability in the purchasing price of the £ sterling.

Sir E. Boyle

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply on this subject which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Oldbury and Halesowen (Mr. Moyle) on 24th January.

Mr. Fletcher

Nothing was said then about the means that the Government intend to adopt. In view of what has appeared in certain sections of the Press, may we have an assurance that the Government will not take any steps which would lead to unemployment?

Sir E. Boyle

It is always a pleasure to debate economic affairs with the hon. Member, but Question Time is not the best occasion.

Mr. Jay

If the Government really wish to check the rise in the cost of living, is there not one simple and obvious thing they can do; that is, to withdraw the Housing Subsidies Bill?

51. Mr. Jeger

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the value of £I now in purchasing power as compared with 20s. purchasing power in May, 1955.

Sir E. Boyle

Taking the internal purchasing power of the £ as 20s. in May, 1955, the corresponding figure for December, 1955, is 19s.

This estimate is based on the Interim Index of Retail Prices.

Mr. Jeger

Would the hon. Gentleman inform the House whether that is in accordance with the Election pledges given by his party in May, 1955?

Sir E. Boyle

There is no subject to which the Government attach more importance at the present time than the restraining of inflation, and it is through cutting down the excessive pressure of total demand, and only by that means, that prices can become steady.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

Under the new Chancellor, is it the cost of living or the standard of living which is to be doubled in twenty-five years?

Sir E. Boyle

I entirely share the view, which I once saw in the hon. Member's Election address, that it is the standard of living which matters most at all times for all sections of the community.