HC Deb 29 January 1970 vol 794 cc1707-8
31. Mr. Jeffrey Archer

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what was the percentage increase in the index of retail prices for food and for all items, respectively, in the 12 months ended December, 1969 and in each of the previous equivalent 12-month periods since December, 1959.

Mr. Dell

As the Answer consists of a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Archer

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that over half the rise has been caused by indirect taxation imposed by this Government, and in particular by S.E.T.? Is not this another good reason for abolishing S.E.T.?

Mr. Dell

One effect of the policy of this Government, of which increases in indirect taxes have been a part, has been to place Britain in one of the strongest balance of payments positions of any country in the world, and that justifies the actions that the Government have taken.

Following are the percentage increases:

Twelve months ended December Food All items
1969 6.4 4.7
1968 4.4 5.9
1967 2.6 2.5
1966 3.3 3.7
1965 3.1 4.5
1964 5.1 4.8
1963 2.2 1.9
1962 2.7 2.6
1961 1.9 4.4
1960 0.6 (decrease) 1.8
1959 0.5 (decrease) Nil