§ 34. Mr. Willis
asked the Minister of Labour if he will detail the reasons why the Index of Retail Prices in the Services group show an increase of 6.7 per cent. from January 1962; and what has been the increase since October 1951.
§ Mr. Godber
The rise in the index for the Services group of the Index of Retail Prices between January, 1962, and April, 1964, was due to higher charges for almost all the services included in the group. The index for the Services group rose by about 60 per cent. between October, 1951, and April, 1964.
§ Mr. Willis
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that these figures, taken with figures for other classes of goods in the Index of Retail Prices, illustrate the utter nonsense talked by the Government about stabilising the cost of living over the past two years? Will he draw these figures to the attention of the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance so that the hardships falling upon the unemployed, the sick and the old-age pensioners might be relieved?
§ Mr. Godber
In this group of the index, as the hon. Gentleman will perhaps know, the largest item of the weighting is entertainment other than television and radio. That is the item which has gone up most. We must relate this to the increases in wage rates and earnings. Whereas the all-items index has risen 48.5 per cent. between October, 1951, and April, 1964, wage rates have risen 78 per cent. Average earnings have risen 98 per cent. between October, 1951, and October, 1963. That is what counts, and that is why our people are better off than they were.