HC Deb 29 May 1962 vol 660 cc1150-1
30. Mr. A. Lewis

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in HANSARD a table of figures to show by how much wages and salaries would have had to rise each year since 1951 to take account of the rise in the cost of living and the depreciation in the purchasing value of the £sterling.

Sir E. Boyle

Yes, Sir. With permission I will circulate the figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Lewis

Is not it about time that the Minister appreciated that this Government have been in power for over eleven years and that each year they have told us that they will make the £worth something;that they are going to mend the "hole in the pocket" and cut the cost of living? When do they propose to get down to doing this? Is he aware that the £is now worth less than at any time in the last eleven years? When do the Government propose to take some action?

Sir E. Boyle

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will get down to studying the figures to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT. They are remarkable and provide the clearest indication I have seen—I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for having put down his Question and giving me the chance to give this Answer—of the extent to which inflation has been due to increases in personal incomes which have increased more rapidly than the volume of production.

Mr. Jay

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the more figures the Government circulate the faster the cost of living rises?

Sir E. Boyle

If the right hon. Gentle. man will study the Answer of my right hon. and learned Friend, he will find a full analysis of inflation during the past year. These figures show, more clearly than any I have ever seen, the need for an incomes policy, and I hope they will be accepted by the House.

Mr. Wade

Will the figures show to what extent increases in prices have led to automatic increases in wages and salaries, thus maintaining the vicious circle?

Sir E. Boyle

The figures shown are in answer to the Question which was put down, but may I say to the hon. Gentleman that if we have excess demand, as we had last July, no power on earth can keep stable prices unless one takes sufficient measures on the fiscal side to equate supply and demand, as we did on that occasion.

Following are the figures:

The second column in the table below shows the increase in average wages and salaries per head, taking 1951 equal to 100, which would have been required to meet the rise in the cost of living, as measured by the consumers' price index. The third column shows the increase which actually occurred.

Required increase Actual increase
1951 100 100
1952 106 107
1953 108 113
1954 110 191
1955 113 128
1956 118 138
1957 122 146
1958 125 151
1959 126 158
1960 127 167
1961 130 177