HC Deb 09 February 1956 vol 548 cc207-8W
65. Mr. Osborne

asked the Minister of Labour by how much has the cost-of-living index risen since the coal mining industry was nationalised; and how far is the increase in the price of coal directly and indirectly responsible for the increased cost of living.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The Retail Prices Index now in use was started in June, 1947, and cannot be carried back to January, 1947, when the coal mining industry was nationalised. Between June, 1947, and December, 1955, the Retail Prices Index rose from 100 to 154, about 3½ of the 54 points rise being due to higher prices of domestic coal and coke. I am unable to estimate how the index has been affected indirectly by increases in the price of coal.

Mr. Palmer

asked the Minister of Labour the average increase in the price of electricity and gas as taken in account for the Index of Retail Prices over the last 12 months in relation to the increase in the general level of retail prices over the same period.

Mr. Iain Macleod

As measured by the Interim Index of Retail Prices, there was an increase of 6 per cent. in the average level of retail prices during 1955. I cannot give corresponding figures for individual items included in the index, but for the sub-group which covers prices of electricity, gas, oil and candles the average rise over the same period was about 10 per cent.