§ Mr. Molloy
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will make a statement on the progress of her policy to limit price increases, with particular reference to food and household goods.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams,
pursuant to her reply [Official Report, 21st May 1976; Vol. 911, c. 766], gave the following information:
The Price Code prevents manufacturers' prices from rising unless costs increase; I am considering how the code needs to be modified in order to encourage investment and jobs. Subsidies on basic foods are currently saving an average family of two adults and two children 70p per week. Under the price check scheme, manufacturers and retailers have agreed to limit price increases on a range of family purchases. But unless costs are also controlled, prices cannot be held down without sacrificing jobs. As the events of the past eight months have shown, we can only control prices effectively if we control the amount we pay ourselves. Because we are successfully doing that, the annual rate of inflation has fallen in each of the last eight months. We need to get it much lower still.