HC Deb 26 June 1969 vol 785 cc1697-9
31. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will broaden the membership and understanding of the Cost of Living Advisory Committee by adding to it some consumers' representatives, more trade union representatives, and at least two housewives from the middle and lower income groups.

vehicles, for miscellaneous goods, for services and for all items in the index since October, 1964, since July, 1966, since November, 1967, and over the last 12 months, to the latest convenient date.

Mr. Hattersley

As the reply contains a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Speed

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Will he confirm that the greatest increases in prices since October, 1964, are in the nationalised industry, housing and service sectors, all directly due to Government policy, and that these will be exacerbated by rises in S.E.T. in two weeks' time?

Mr. Hattersley

I cannot confirm conclusions which the hon. Gentleman draws from figures which he has not yet seen.

Following are the percentage increases:

Mr. Hattersley

I am satisfied that the interests of the trade unions and of consumers generally are adequately represented by the present membership of the Cost of Living Advisory Committee.

Mr. Driberg

Does the omission of housewives from my hon. Friend's Answer mean that they are not adequately represented, in his view?

Mr. Hattersley

It does not mean that. It means, as I tried to explain in an earlier answer, that the index is intended to do a technical job, which it does with great accuracy. It also reflects the situation that it is difficult to get what my hon. Friend calls the typical housewife to serve on such bodies. The moment they are available for selection and service they almost invariably cease to be typical.