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Basic Wage Rates

Volume 436: debated on Thursday 24 April 1947

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asked the Minister of Labour the basic wage rates in the mining industry and in industry generally in 1938 and at the present time; and the percentage increase in the net wage rate in each case after allowing for the reduction in the purchasing power of money.

Basic wage rates vary considerably in different industries and occupations and in different localities and it is not practicable to calculate an average. It is estimated, however, that the average percentage increase in weekly rates of wages since June, 1938, has been about 66 or 67 per cent. both in coalmining and in industry generally. The official cost-of-living index for the same period shows a rise of 32 per cent., but as stated in the Interim Report of the Cost-of-Living Advisory Committee (Cmd. 7077), the alterations in consumption habits since 1914 have made this index out of date. Accordingly, I do not think it would be profitable to attempt to estimate the percentage increase in the net wage rate.