§ Mr. Greenway
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the annual rise in prices and wages since 1945.
§ Mr. Biffen
[pursuant to his reply, 22 January 1980]: With regard to movements in prices, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 17 January to my hon. Friend the Member for Leek (Mr. Knox)—[Vol. 976. c. 857–858]. Annual figures for wages and salaries in the period 1946–1978 are given on page 18 of Economic Trends, annual supplement, 1980 edition. The corresponding figure for 1945 is £4,390 million. Estimates for the whole of 1979 are not yet available but in the first three quarters of the year, wages and salaries increased by 15 per cent. compared with the corresponding period of 1978.
Available series of annual index numbers of basic wage rates and average earnings up to 1978 are given on page 108 of the Economic Trends, annual supplement. In 1979 basic wage rates were, on average, 14½ per cent. higher than in 1978 256W while average earnings—based on the Department of Employment new series of average earnings in Great Britain covering the whole economy—increased by 15 per cent., on average, in the first 11 months of the year compared with the same period of 1978.
Movements in the index of basic weekly wage rates up to March 1979 were influenced considerably by nationally negotiated rates of wages for engineering workers remaining unchanged between February 1976 and April 1978.