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Retail Prices Index

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 28 February 1952

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4.

asked the Minister of Labour what progress is being made on the compilation of a new Retail Prices Index.

19.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he can now report further progress on the establishment of a revised cost-of-living index.

The Cost of Living Advisory Committee has submitted to me a report on the working of the present Interim Index of Retail Prices and possible means of effecting temporary modification in the present index until a new index based on the results of a family budget inquiry can be instituted. I hope to be able to make a further statement very shortly.

Will the Minister expedite that report, because he may not be aware that not only the benches behind him but many of his colleagues in the Government of other days have expressed the opinion that this index is a fraud to stop millions of workers from demanding increased wages, and that therefore there may be precipitate resignations of many of them if they feel that they are now parties to the maintenance of such an index.

I have expedited this report, but I thought it undesirable to make a statement until it was printed and available.

Is it not unreason-to complain of the delay since last November in view of the fact that this Committee was appointed in 1947, that previous Governments were asked repeatedly to do something about it and that the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee), who was a member of the last Government, stalled on it?