§ Mr. Gourlay
asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development what were the reasons for the increase in prices of furniture, floor coverings, and soft furnishings of 7 per cent. between January, 1962, and April, 1964; and what was the increase between January, 1952, and January, 1962.
§ Mr. D. Price
I cannot usefully comment on the reasons for these increases which are not out of line with prices in general. The Government have no general powers to control the prices of goods, and believe that the interests of consumers and producers are usually best served by the interplay of competitive forces.
The Ministry of Labour Index of Retail Prices records an increase of 8 per cent. for furniture, floor coverings and soft furnishings between January, 1952, and January, 1962.