§ Mr. Norman Lamont
Take-home pay for a married man with two children on average male earnings is 32 per cent. higher in real terms in 1989–90 than in 1978–79.
§ Mr. Curry
Is it not clear that the ordinary working family has benefited most from a policy of high economic growth and a reduction in taxation? Therefore, are not the Government acting in the interests of the ordinary working family in making their counter-inflation strategy the centrepiece of their economic policy, even when it involves difficult decisions such as keeping down pay in the public sector?
§ Mr. Lamont
My hon. Friend is right. The increase in earnings in real terms, after prices and after VAT, to the average person is worth about £53 a week more at today's prices than in 1978–79. The same is true also for the person on half average earnings. His real earnings are now about 25 per cent. higher. That is an increase in the past seven 465 years of 3.2 per cent. per annum, which compares with a total increase of about 4 per cent. during the period when the Labour party was in office.