HC Deb 26 October 1971 vol 823 cc1461-3
15. Mr. Carter

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much the value of the £ sterling fell between 18th June. 1970 and 18th December, 1970, and 18th December, 1970 and 18th June. 1971, respectively.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

On the basis of the movement in the General Index of Retail Prices, the purchasing power of the £ fell by 3.5 per cent. between mid- June, 1970 and mid-December 1970, and by 6 per cent. between mid-December, 1970 and mid-June, 1971. In the three months since June, the retail price index has risen by about three-quarters of 1 per cent.

Mr. Carter

Is the Minister aware that, despite all the protestations of the Government in the latter part of last year and the early part of this year that they were getting inflation under control, the figures which he has announced show the reverse to have happened and that all the claims of the Government at that time are entirely bogus?

May I further ask whether he agrees with his courageous right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food who now confesses to believing that there were exorbitant price increases arising out of decimalisation which inflated the rapid price increases which we had over the past year?

Mr. Jenkin

I do not understand the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary. The figure of three-quarters of 1 per cent. for the most recent three months' period is not only much less than the rate in the first six months of 1971 but is significantly lower than the rate in the three months after the General Election.

On the second part of his supplementary, I remind him that it was his Government which decided to decimalise on the £, the new penny and the new halfpenny, which has undoubtedly made it more difficult for people to understand

16. Mr. Kaufman

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the purchasing power of the £ sterling now, taking it as 100p on 18th June, 1970.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Taking the value of the £ sterling as 100p in mid-June 1970, its purchasing power in mid-September 1971, the latest date for which information is available, is estimated at 90p.

Mr. Kaufman

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that last week's economic survey by the Swiss Credit Bank showed that Britain had the highest rate of inflation in the year ending 30th September among all the world's industrialised countries? Is he further aware that, in consequence, last month's £1 increase in the retirement pension is now worth only 16p?

Mr. Jenkin

When the hon. Gentleman is prepared to lend his voice in support of our efforts to get de-escalation of wage settlements, I might be prepared to listen to him when he talks about prices.

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