HC Deb 20 November 1979 vol 974 cc156-7W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much sterling has appreciated or depreciated against each of the principal currencies since (a) the second half of 1973, (b) the fourth quarter of 1976 and (c) 1 January 1979: what are the corresponding figures for the difference in the rate of inflation: and what the consequential changes were in terms of competitiveness.

Mr. Lawson

Such information as is available is set out below for United States of America, West Germany and Japan compared with the United Kingdom. The index of competitiveness used for these comparisons is relative normalised unit labour costs as published by the IMF. These data are available only up to the first quarter of 1979 and so it is not possible to provide an answer to part (c) of the question in relation to competitiveness.

Mr. Kaufman

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what, based on the index of retail prices, is the purchasing power of the £ sterling today taking it as 100p on 3 May.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I shall let the right hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.