§ 21. Mr. Sparks
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will show in table form by what percentage and amount the retail prices of food have increased in each year since 1951, and, to the nearest convenient date, and for each year, the amount by which prices have increased since 1951.
I was told that it would be answered with Question No. 19, but the Financial Secretary, in answering No. 19, did not say so.
§ Mr. Erroll
Perhaps I might explain that the Answer to Question No. 21 is also long and contains a number of figures and that it will, with permission, be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. Sparks
Why is it that the Government have permitted food prices to rise so high, without making any effort to restrict them?
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that since 1951 import prices have dropped 14 per cent. and that export prices have risen 9 per cent.; yet, in spite of that very important improvement in the terms of trade, the retail prices have risen over the same period by 25 per cent.? How does the hon. Gentleman explain the discrepancy?
§ Mr. Erroll
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman, in fairness, would quote the comparable increase in wages during the same period.
§ Following is the information:
|PERCENTAGE CHANGES IN RETAIL FOOD PRICES*|
|Year||Increase over previous year||Increase since 1951|
|May, 1959||…||− 0.4†||48.9|
|* The estimates are based on the sub-index for food in the Index of Retail Prices, linked to the corresponding item in the Interim Indices based on 17th June, 1947, and on 15th January, 1952, respectively. The changes since 1951 may therefore be affected by any lack of comparability between the three series used.|
|† Change from May, 1958.|