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Cost Of Living

Volume 236: debated on Monday 10 March 1930

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77.

asked the Minister of Labour the index numbers for the cost of food for March, 1924, and March, 1930, respectively, taking 1913 to equal 100?

The index number of the retail prices of the principal articles of food purchased by working-class families, was 76 per cent. above the level of July, 1914, at 1st March, 1924. For 1st March, 1930, the statistics are not yet completed but for 1st February the corresponding figure was 54. The comparison is with July, 1914, because figures for 1913 are not available.

Why does the Parliamentary Secretary give me the retail prices? I did not ask for the retail prices. I want the wholesale prices.

This is a highly technical matter. This matter was dealt with in the Report which was issued in 1921, and I am sure the hon. Member will get all the information he wants on this matter from that Report.

Why does the hon. Member say that this is a highly technical matter? If he can give the index figure of the retail prices he can certainly give the wholesale figure also.

That is not necessarily the case, because the retail price depends on other factors as well as the wholesale price. It depends on wages and other factors.

Has the hon. Member seen the returns which appeared in the Midland Bank report, which has been printed since I put down this question?

The hon. Member seems to be in possession of information which he is asking the Department to supply. I am well aware that he has dealt with this matter before.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary really mean to say that the index figure is dependent upon wages?

I did not say that at all. What I said was that the retail price depends on other factors as well as the wholesale price.