HC Deb 26 November 1959 vol 614 cc553-4
38. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response there has been to his appeal for lower prices.

Mr. Barber

There have been downward movements in recent months in some of the components of the principal price indices, but it is impossible to say to what extent this represents a response to the statement my right hon. Friend has made. We believe there is scope for further reductions and we hope to see them take place in the coming months.

Mr. Hynd

Has the Minister noticed that the only substantial response has been from British European Airways, a nationalised industry? If private indus- try will not respond to his appeal for voluntary reductions, will not the Government consider bringing pressure to bear?

Mr. Barber

I think my right hon. Friend has made his position perfectly clear. I certainly do not accept what the hon. Gentleman has said about price reductions. I do not want to take up the time of the House, but I must mention that the prices of one important category of goods, durable goods—which, as the hon. Gentleman knows, is a sub-index of the Retail Price Index—have been edging down during recent months.