Mr. G. MURRAY
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the detailed statement of the increased cost of living, so far as essential food and clothing are concerned, contained in the "Sunday Express" of the 8th May, 1921; whether he will have the accuracy of the figures there given investigated; and how it is that the Board of Trade's present estimated percentage of increase, namely, 130 per cent., is so much higher than that given in the aforesaid newspaper, which by expert authority places the increase at only 52 per cent. on certain items, which in themselves contribute more to the Board of Trade's gross percentage figure than to those items which are omitted?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I have been asked to reply. I have seen a copy of the statement referred to, which appears to have formed part of an advertisement of the goods sold at a particular establishment in the West End of London, and purports to relate to the increase in the cost of living of a family with an income of £500 to £750 a year, the members of which did all their shopping at that establishment. I am not prepared to undertake an investigation into the accuracy of the statements contained in that advertisement. The statistics regularly compiled by the Ministry of Labour relate to the average increase in the United Kingdom as a whole, in the cost of living of working-class families, and no official statistics have been prepared relating to the cost of living of families such as those referred to in the advertisement.