§ 46. Mr. Shinwell
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will state the relative increase in the price of consumer goods and foodstuffs between 1958 and 1968 in the countries of the European Economic Community and the United Kingdom, details of which are available to her from international sources.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
As the reply consists of a table of figures I will with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I must emphasise that, owing to differences in concept, scope, methodology and presentation, it cannot be assumed that figures for different countries are comparable.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Is there any special reason why my hon. Friend cannot give us the figures in the House? Are the Government trying to conceal something? Is it not true that prices in the European Community have risen much more rapidly over the years mentioned in the Question than they have in the United Kingdom, and if my hon. Friend knows that the figures indicate what I have said, why does he not agree with me?
§ Mr. Walker
It is not universally true. Some countries show a substantial increase. There is no intention to conceal the information. I should have thought 583 my right hon. Friend would have appreciated that fact, the White Paper having been published last week.
§ Captain W. Elliot
Would not the Under-Secretary agree that the matter of rising prices is only one side of the coin? The other side of the coin is the rise in earnings.
§ Following are the percentage increases in the consumer prices indices for all items and for food from 1958 to 1968:
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