HC Deb 26 July 1965 vol 717 cc23-4
30. Mr. Godber

asked the Minister of Labour if he will take steps to ensure that Press releases on the monthly cost-of-living index give a clear indication of the main causes of changes that take place.

Mr. Gunter

When the index moves by 0.2 or more points, the Press notice mentions the more important changes. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, fuller details of changes are published in the Ministry of Labour Gazette. I think the information given is adequate, but if the right hon. Gentleman has any particular suggestions I will consider them.

Mr. Godber

The reason why I put down the Question was because the May Press announcement said that the rise in the index during the month was due to increases in a number of items but specified potatoes in particular and said that this increase was partly offset by a reduction in the price of eggs. When, however, the June issue of the Ministry of Labour Gazette was published, it showed that apparently the major item in the rise in May was a 1.8 per cent. rise in services, which related almost entirely to postal charges. It therefore seems that this should have been included originally.

Mr. Gunter

I have noted that point.

Mr. Lipton

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that for old-age pensioners and other sections of the population the monthly fluctuations in the cost of living index do not mean a thing, because it includes all sorts of items in which people are not interested? For this reason, should not the factors which go to make up the cost of living index be completely revised?

Mr. Gunter

That is a larger question which does not arise out of this one.