HC Deb 07 March 1972 vol 832 cc1226-7
19. Mr. Skinner

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current real value of the £ sterling as compared with June, 1970.

20. 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

I would refer the hon. Members to my hon. Friend the Minister of State's reply to a similar question yesterday by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Carter). —[Vol. 832, c. 233.]

Mr. Skinner

I am afraid that I have not had time to look it up. I have been in Committee on the Housing Finance Bill. I suppose that it would be fair to say that it has dropped again, below the level mentioned in the reply I saw last time. Is the Minister aware that this will promote even further wage claims, and that if the Housing Finance Bill, which will increase rents by 25 per cent. this year alone, is not scrapped, even further wage claims will have to be advanced in order to compensate for that?

Mr. Jenkin

What has certainly dropped is the rate of inflation. Figures given by my hon. Friend yesterday show that the value of the pound fell, between June, 1970, and January, 1972, to 88p. In those 19 months, the first 10 months accounted for 8p and the last 9 months accounted for 4p.

Mr. Kaufman

Is the Minister aware that for a basketful of shopping which cost £5 in June, 1970, the housewife now has to pay £5.68? Is he further aware that the Government's economic policy is lying in ruins, that the Prime Minister's pledge to cut prices at a stroke is buried beneath those ruins, and that the housewife will never forgive the Prime Minister for deceiving her?

Mr. Jenkin

I cannot do better to answer the hon. Member than to quote from the Daily Mail leading article today: Mr. Heath has achieved a remarkable success in halving the rate of both pay and price increases.

Mr. Raison

Can my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary tell us what is the current real value of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner)?

Mr. Kaufman

In view of the fact the Minister said he could not do better than that answer, I give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.