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Retail Prices Index

Volume 654: debated on Wednesday 28 February 1962

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asked the Minister of Labour if he will state the retail price index for December, 1960, and December, 1961, respectively; and what was the percentage increase or decrease.

The retail prices index figures—17th January 1956=100—for December, 1960, and December, 1961, were 112·2 and 117·1, respectively. The percentage increase was 4·4.

Does the Minister agree that this indicates that the cost of living has gone up? Does not he think that he should now consult with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is insisting on a pay pause, with a view to having a price pause?

I hope that the hon Gentleman will realise that the rise in the retail prices index—the figures I gave show that it has gone up—is the price we are having to pay for the considerable rises in incomes which we paid ourselves before last July.

Can my right hon. Friend say how many people have their wages tied to the cost of living figure by fixed agreements and what is the cost of a one point rise in the cost of living on those fixed agreements?

I could not give the figure offhand. A large number of agreements do include an automatic sliding scale which is directly connected with the cost of living. If my hon. Friend will put down a Question, I will try to give him some information on the subject.