§ 21. Mr. Dodds
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what considerations he takes into account in arriving at his estimate of the current value of the £ sterling and of the internal purchasing value of the £ sterling, respectively, in view of the Answers given on 25th and 27th October, which show a substantial difference between these two values.
§ Mr. Barber
The terms "current value of the £" and "internal purchasing value of the £" are used synonymously. Questions on this subject are normally answered by reference to the annual Price Index of all Consumer Goods and Services. This is the method which was used in the reply given on the 25th October.
Occasionally, when the wording of the Question is based on the Index of Retail Prices, it is answered by reference to that Index. If this method is used, as it was in the reply given on 27th October, this is always expressly stated. A full explanation of the methods used in answering Questions of this kind was given by my predecessor in reply to a Question on the 20th November, 1958.
§ Mr. Dodds
Does the Economic Secretary appreciate that that explanation is as clear as mud? Does not he further appreciate that even with the explanation, the experts still ask, which is fact and which is fiction? In this important matter, does not he think that there could be something much clearer so that we could properly appreciate just how the £ has gone down since October. 1951?
§ Mr. Barber
Of course, both the Answers were factual, because they were dealing with different matters. If the hon. Member finds any difficulty in the reply given by my predecessor, to which I referred, and will write to me about it, I will do my best to make it clear.