HC Deb 16 April 1957 vol 568 cc1727-8
11. Mr. Lewis

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that traders and business organisations raised their prices at the time of the Suez crisis on the ground that the 1s. petrol tax increased their distribution costs; and what action he proposes to take, by the imposition of price control or otherwise, to ensure that all prices are restored to their former level now that the 1s. petrol tax has been abolished.

Sir D. Eccles

I am not aware of any widespread increase in the prices of goods as a direct result of the temporary tax on petrol. Action by Her Majesty's Government is not called for.

Mr. Lewis

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he is about the only person who is not aware of it? Will he ask his wife or any housewife? He will be told that, almost immediately the Is. tax was imposed, every type of distributor increased the cost, and every type of article that a housewife buys went up in price. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Will the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, take some action to reduce prices to the pre-Suez figures, if I give him facts and figures relating to the increases?

Sir D. Eccles

I shall be interested in the hon. Member's facts and figures. His remarks are certainly not borne out by the Index of Retail Prices.

Dame Florence Horsbrugh

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many housewives have not found the statement made by the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) correct?

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