§ Mr. Higgins
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will estimate the effect of United Kingdom membership of the European Community on the Retail Prices Indices for Pensioner Households on the basis of the data pepared for Command Paper No. 4289, Great Britain and the European Community.
§ Mr. Dell
Paragraph 29 of Command Paper 4289 indicates that the maximum increase in food prices which might result from entry into the European Communities would be of the order of 18–26 per cent., but that increases would only be incurred gradually over a number of years and would be less if the present gap between the United Kingdom, world and Community prices narrowed before entry and during the transitional period. A maximum rise foreseen would raise the special indices for pensioner households by about 10 per cent. owing to the greater importance of food in the expenditure of pensioner households. As 295W Ministers have stated, any significant increase would call for special arrangements to deal with the effect on the standard of living of pensioners.