HC Deb 06 February 1968 vol 758 cc214-5
28. Mr. Biffen

asked the Minister of Power how many requests for increases in prices have been notified to his Department under the voluntary arrangements of the prices and incomes policy since devaluation; how many of these requests have been agreed entirely or partially; how many have not been agreed; in how many instances price increases have been proceeded with despite non-agreement; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeson

Under the voluntary early warning procedure my right hon. Friend has received five notifications of proposed price increases since devaluation, four of which were attributable to cost increases resulting from devaluation. No comments were made on the proposals in three cases; one case is still under consideration; and in the case of petroleum products devaluation increases were allowed but offset by reductions in the temporary surcharge introduced after the Middle East War.

Mr. Biffen

In view of the considerable range of industrial products which are covered by the presumptive price control of the Ministry of Power, and in view of the importance which the Government attach to the maintenance of stable prices by the Government in the post-devaluation situation, by what numbers has the hon. Gentleman increased the staff dealing with these inquiries?

Mr. Freeson

That is quite a separate question.