§ Mr. A. Lewis
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he is aware that, with a 6 per cent. increase in the total in civil employment since 1951, the annual rate of industrial production has only been 3.3 per cent.; and what action he proposes to take to double the United Kingdom's annual industrial production;
(2) whether he is aware that since 1951 the retail price index has risen by 187W 41 per cent., that the £ sterling has depreciated by 24 per cent., and that the terms of trade have improved in Great Britain's favour by 24 per cent.; what was the reason for these adverse figures; and what action he proposes to take to reverse this trend;
(3) if he is aware that, after deducting the cost of repairs and other expenses, incomes from rents rose by 117 per cent. from 1951 until 1960; when he expects to have the figure for 1961; and if he will take steps to prevent a further rise in incomes from rents;
(4) whether he will ask the National Economic Development Council to report why since 1951 the annual rate of industrial production rose by only 3.3 per cent., at the same time as the overall terms of trade moved in favour of the United Kingdom by 24 per cent., why unemployment increased by 34 per cent., and the retail price index by 41 per cent., and why the purchasing power of the £ sterling depreciated by 24 per cent.; and whether he will request the Council to assess the effect upon the United Kingdom's economic development of the rise in gross trading profits of companies of 38 per cent., in dividends of 120 per cent. and in income from rents, after deducting the cost of repairs and other expenses, of 117 per cent. from 1951 to 1960;
(5) if he is aware that since 1951 the purchasing value of the £ sterling has fallen by 24 per cent.; and if he will take steps to restore the purchasing power of the £ sterling to its 1951 level;
(6) whether he is aware that from 1951 to 1960 gross trading profits of companies have increased by 38 per cent., and gross ordinary dividends by 120 per cent.; when he expects to receive the figures for 1961; and if he will take steps to prevent a further rise in company dividends.
§ Sir E. Boyle
I am aware of the figures referred to by the hon. Member. Figures relating to the various components of national income for 1961 will be available in about a month's time, when the Economic Survey and National Income White Paper are published.
The rise in prices and decline in the purchasing power of the pound arise 188W from the excessive growth of money incomes in recent years compared with the growth of national production. The Government's policy, as my right hon. Friend has made clear on many occasions, is to work towards a faster, but soundly-based, rate of economic growth, and the stabilisation of prices, by securing a more realistic relationship between the rate of increase of personal incomes of all kinds and of national production. As to particular measures, I have nothing at present to add to Command Paper 1626 and to what my right hon. Friend has said in recent debates. I have already expressed my conviction that the National Economic Development Council will have a valuable part to play in all these matters.