HC Deb 16 July 1970 vol 803 cc1717-8
33. Mr. John Page

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what has been the rise in the Retail Price Index during the last three months; what this represents in money value; and if he will estimate the effect of an equivalent rise on the purchasing power of the £ sterling over five years.

Mr. Bryan

The rise in the General Index of Retail Prices between 17th February, 1970, and 19th May, 1970, was 2.4 per cent. which is equivalent to about sixpence in the £.

If this rate of increase continued over a period of five years, the purchasing power of the £ sterling, as measured by the General Index of Retail Prices, would fall by about 7s. 6d.

Mr. Page

Does my hon. Friend agree that the figures which he has given prove that the policy of statutory control of prices and incomes propagated by right hon. Gentlemen opposite is absolutely useless for controlling prices?

Mr. Bryan

This subject was debated at length and in depth during the recent General. Election which resulted in a resounding victory for the Government. It is also an advertisement for the fact that competition is far more effective than any step taken by the Labour Government to curb prices.

Mr. Dick Douglas

The hon. Gentleman has made a projection of price increases. What steps has his Ministry in mind to ensure that that projection does not become a reality?

Mr. Bryan

Our policies, which will unfold over the next few months, will convince the hon. Gentleman that he is in good hands.