HC Deb 28 February 1991 vol 186 cc1111-2
19. Mr. Burns

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the latest forecast for the year-on-year rate of inflation at the end of 1991.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard

The autumn statement forecast is for a sharp fall in all items on the retail prices index. Inflation should fall to 5½ per cent. by the fourth quarter of this year. Most outside commentators currently predict lower inflation than that. My right hon. Friend will publish a new forecast with the Budget.

Mr. Burns

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that answer. Has she read the speech by the president of the Confederation of British Industry who suggested that employers have a role to play in helping the battle against inflation by keeping down average wages? Will my hon. Friend impress on employers the need in the battle against inflation to keep down average wages throughout the economy?

Mrs. Shephard

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I am glad that the message is also being conveyed by the CBI. It is essential that wages be kept down as part of the continuing battle against inflation.