HC Deb 07 July 1983 vol 45 cc399-400
12. Mr. Alton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current rate of inflation.

Mr. Peter Rees

During the 12 months to May 1983 the retail price index increased by 3.7 per cent., the lowest 12-monthly increase for more than 15 years.

Mr. Alton

Will the Chief Secretary tell the House the rate of inflation that he would regard as low enough to permit him to concentrate more of our resources on tackling unemployment? Does he believe that it is socially acceptable that in some parts of the United Kingdom more than 50 per cent. of residents in employment exchange areas are unemployed?

Mr. Rees

By concentrating our efforts on reducing inflation and on sustaining a low rate of inflation we are preparing the way for an industrial upturn—the signs of which are already apparent—and for creating real jobs.

Mr. Richard Page

Will my right hon. and learned Friend do everything possible to keep down inflation, because inflation destroys more jobs and costs more companies their existence? Does he support the view that if we do not keep down inflation we have no chance of providing real jobs in future?

Mr. Rees

I am glad to give my hon. Friend my support.