§ 30. Sir W. Smithers
asked the Minister of Labour for details, in tabular form, of outstanding claims for increased wages reported to him and the approximate annual amount of these increases.
§ Sir W. Monckton
There is no obligation on industry to report wage claims to me, and although my Department obtains information about wage claims, this information is supplied in confidence, and does not enable me to publish particulars of individual wage claims. From the information in my possession I estimate that, as stated by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 15th May, there are outstanding wage claims covering between 7 and 8 million workers. No estimate can be given of the total amounts involved, since some of these claims do not specify any particular sum.
§ Sir W. Smithers
Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that since 1948 the increase in wages has been about £670 million, and that if the present round is granted it will be about another £600 million? Is he aware that this does no good to the recipient or to the country because the wages are paid in pieces of paper which are ever going down in purchasing power? Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that since 1945, taking the £ then as 20s., the purchasing power of the £ has dropped to the value of 13s. 7d.?