HC Deb 09 July 1959 vol 608 cc1544-5
19. Mr. Sparks

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give in table form the internal purchasing value of the £ sterling, taking October, 1951, as 20s., and for October in each subsequent year, and to the nearest convenient date.

Mr. Simon

As the Answer is long and contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Sparks

Why have the Government deliberately allowed the internal purchasing value of the £ to decline so heavily?

Mr. Simon

I did not catch the first part of the hon. Member's supplementary question, but I think that this will probably answer it: he would do well to examine the Index of Retail Prices over the last fifteen months, and he might derive benefit from comparing it with the index for the last twelve months of the Socialist Government.

Mr. Jay

Would it be true to say that the Government have raised the cost of living to the highest level ever known and are now boasting of having kept it there?

Mr. Simon

As the occupant of my position in 1951, the right hon. Gentleman is in no position to ask that sort of supplementary question.

Following is the information:

Internal Purchasing Power of the £ Sterling

The internal purchasing power of the pound sterling for October of each of the years 1951 to 1958 inclusive was:—

1951 20s. 0d.
1952 19s. 4d.
1953 19s. 3d.
1954 18s. 8d.
1955 17s. l1d.
1956 17s. 4d.
1957 16s. 9d.
1958 16s. 6d.

On the same basis, in May, 1959, the purchasing power of the pound was 16s. 7d.

The above figures are based on the Consumer Prince Index (calculated annually) corrected for the month by the Index of Retail Prices.