§ Mr. CECIL WILSON
asked the Minister of Labour whether, in arriving at the present figure for cost of living, precisely the same basis has been adopted as was adopted in August, 1914; and whether in the necessitous areas, where rents have been increased by 40 per cent. and rates by 100 per cent., any adequate consideration has been given to this matter, or whether such increases have been ignored with the effect of materially lowering the purchasing power for food?
§ Sir MONTAGUE BARLOW
The present figure for the cost of living represents the average increase in the cost of maintaining unchanged the pre-War standard of living of working-class families. The basis of compilation has not been changed, the same items and the same descriptions and quantities of each of the items being taken now as for 1914. In compiling the figure, account has been taken of the increases of 40 per cent. on net rents, and of increases on account of rates.
§ Mr. WILSON
also asked the Minister of Labour whether he can state what percentage of the cost-of-living figure in August, 1914, was attributable to rent and rates, and what percentages of the present figure is so attributable?
§ Sir M. BARLOW
The present average increase in rents and rates over the 1914 level, as calculated for the cost of living index figure, is 47 per cent. The proportion which expenditure on rent and rates formed of the total weekly expenditure of working-class families averaged approximately 15 per cent. before the War. The corresponding proportion for the present time would be approximately 13 per cent., taking into account the same dwellings and the same standard of living generally as before the War.