HC Deb 07 April 1971 vol 815 cc191-2W
Mr. Lane

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much the purchasing value of the £ sterling has fallen since 1958; and, from information available from international sources, how this reduction compares with the similar figures for the member countries of the European Economic Community.

Mr. Higgins

Taking the purchasing power of the £ sterling to be 100 pence in 1958, its value in February, 1971, is estimated to have been 64½ pence, a fall of 35½ per cent. This estimate is based on the change in the Consumer Price Index between 1958 and 1970 and in the General Index of Retail Prices between 1970 and February, 1971.

For comparison with member countries of the European Economic Community, the only published indices refer to retail prices with the latest available data relating to November, 1970. Figures based on these price indices and using the Retail Price Index for the whole period in the case of the United Kingdom, are shown in the following table:

Percentage fall in purchasing power of currency 1958 to November,1970
United Kingdom 35.6
European Economic Community
Belgium 27.5
France 39.8
Germany 26.2
Italy 34.2
Luxembourg 23.9
Netherlands 37.5

Source: O.E.C.D. Main Economic Indicators.