HC Deb 23 October 1956 vol 558 c477
39. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Labour what is the estimated total effect on the Retail Prices Index of the recent increases in the prices of bread and milk.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The increase of ½d. a pint in the price of milk on 1st July was the equivalent of about one-fifth of a point in the Retail Prices Index, but there was in fact no rise in the Index figure for July because this increase was more than counterbalanced by price decreases for other items. Full information has not yet been collected regarding the increased prices for bread, but it seems likely that in the absence of other price changes these increases would raise the Index by about one-half of a point.

Mr. Hamilton

Whilst these increases might seem negligible to the right hon. Gentleman, is he aware that they are not negligible to families, particularly where there are a number of children? Is this what the Government call their contribution to the policy of stability for which they are working? How can the Government expect workers to co-operate in that respect when they, by their deliberate policy, are forcing up the prices of necessities?

Mr. Macleod

As to the question of stability, the Index stands at a lower figure than it did when the Chancellor made his much derided "plateau" speech six or seven months ago. The Index shows this year an increase of two points, but as it is the first day of term, I will spare the hon. Member the usual comparison with 1951.

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