asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that in the month of October 567,000 workpeople are stated in the "Labour Gazette" to have obtained rises in wages under sliding scales; will he say whether the rise was due to the rise in the cost of living as ascertained by his Department or to the effect of other arrangements; whether the rise in the cost of living so ascertained and compensated for by increased wages included the extra cost of railway fares, tobacco, and newspapers, as compared with 1914; and were these items included in the original inquiry into selected working-class family budgets conducted in 1904 and on which the present monthly comparisons are based?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
Of the total of 567,000 workpeople referred to, about 465,000 received increases in wages under sliding scale arrangements dependent on the fluctuations in the level of retail prices and rents, as published in the "Labour Gazette." The remaining 102,000 workpeople received increases under sliding scale agreements whereby wages are varied in accordance with the selling price of iron or steel. Railway fares, 1285W tobacco, and newspapers are included in the "Labour Gazette" statistics relating to the increase in the cost of living. Expenditure on these items was not separately distinguished in the family budgets collected in 1904.