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Food Price Increases

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 29 April 1954

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asked the Minister of Labour which items of food have recently increased in price so as to cause the retail price index figure to rise to 141.

The rise in the index was due mainly to increases in the prices of butter, cheese, eggs, tea, potatoes, tomatoes and cooking apples. There were also some increases in the prices of green vegetables but decreases in the prices of fish and of rabbits. Among non-food items the principal change was a slight rise in the average prices of coal and coke.

On a point of order. May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, why this Question has been admitted, having regard to the fact that all the information in the answer is contained in the Ministry of Labour Gazette, a copy of which is now in the Library?

Further to that, Mr. Speaker, do you think that you can manage without the assistance of the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams)?

Is the Minister aware that the answer which he has just given, and which is contained in the Ministry of Labour Gazette, reached me this morning in the Gazette, whereas the Question was put down before the Gazette was published? So much for the point of order. Is the Minister not aware that since he took office this index figure has risen from 129 to 141 and that, despite all the propaganda to the contrary, the cost of living has continuously increased? Can he say when food prices will fall?

I am glad that I have not to deal with the first point, for the second point is comprehensive enough. Although no doubt the figures which the hon. Member has given are right, it is some satisfaction to appreciate that the index figure has not varied, except between 140 and 141, for a year.