§ Mr. Lomas
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if he will show in table form the increase in all prices, and food prices, respectively, from October, 1964, to the latest available date, and the increase in the average weekly earnings and the average hourly rate for the same period.
§ Mr. Dell
The information requested is set out in the following table:
PERCENTAGE INCREASES, OCTOBER, 1964 TO APRIL, 1969* General index of retail prices Average earnings, all manual workers All items Food Weekly Hourly 22.1 22.3 34.6 37.9 * April, 1969 is the latest available date for figures of the average earnings of manual workers.
§ Mr. Latham
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if he will list the proposed price increases considered by the National Board for Prices and Incomes since its inception; which prices have subsequently not been increased; which have been increased by less than the amount proposed, showing the amount of the variation; and which prices have been increased by the full amount proposed.
§ Mr. Dell
Since its inception 40 cases containing specific proposals for price increases have been referred to the National Board for Prices and Incomes. Reports have yet to be published on:
- British Rail fares in the London commuter area.
- Prices of daily newspapers.
- Prices of electric motors.
- Coal prices.
The following tables summarise the information requested for the references which have been completed. The 353W Government have in each case accepted the recommendation made by the
I. CASES WHERE PRICE OR CHARGES INCREASES WERE NOT APPROVED BY THE N.B.P.I. Date Report Number Reference Proposed increase N.B.P.I. recommendation 1965 June … 1 Road Haulage Rates (Interim). 5 per cent. Not justified. September … 3 Prices of Bread and Flour Various increases in wrapped and unwrapped loaves. Flour and bread prices should be held for 6 months. 1966 April … 13 Costs, Profits and Prices in the Brewing Industry ½d. per pint on beer No increase for 6–9 months except where company had not increased prices since 1st January 1964 (27 months prior to the Report). 1967 October … 43 Costs and Revenues of National Newspapers. Increase in price of the "Daily Mirror" from 4d. to 5d. Not justified.* 1968 February … 54 Remuneration of Solicitors. 50 per cent. increase in County Court charges.† Increase of 55 per cent. in County Court charges approved, and a reduction in income from conveyancing recommended. May … 64 Mercury Hearing Aid Batteries. 45 per cent. Considered to be excessive. Extant prices to be discussed with a view to reduction. * Early in 1968 the prices of daily and Sunday newspapers rose to take account of increased costs due to devaluation. † In March, 1969 the N.B.P.I. was asked as part of a Standing Reference to investigate and report on all changes in the revenue, expenses and profits of solicitors since the period covered by this report and the effect, if any, of such changes on its recommendations. The Board subsequently reported in its Report No. 134.
II. CASES WHERE N.B.P.I. RECOMMENDED SMALLER INCREASES THAN HAD BEEN PROPOSED Date Report Number Reference Proposed increase N.B.P.I. recommendation 1965 December … 7 Electricity and Gas Tariffs. Increases ranging from 8–13 per cent. including 8 per cent. by South West Gas Board. South West Gas Board 3 per cent. Other proposals approved. 7967 March … 28 Prices of Compound Fertilisers. 10 per cent. Increases should be limited to 6 per cent. August … 38 Portland Cement Prices 5s. per ton Increase of 2s. per ton. … 47 Prices of Fletton and Non-Fletton Bricks. Various proposals N.B.P.I. recommended an increase of 4½ per cent. for the London Brick Company. 1968 February … 53 Flour Prices Increases proposed varied between 8s. to 11s. 6d. per sack for Bakers flour and 12s. to 15s. per sack for Springs flour. Increases in costs following devaluation were 8s. 3d. per sack for Bakers and 12s. 1d. for Springs flour. March … 59 The Bulk Supply Tariff of the C.E.G.B. 4.1 per cent. 3.75 per cent. April … 61 Secondary Batteries 3.7 per cent.—7.5 per cent. Increases should not exceed 4 per cent. overall. June … 73 Hoover Domestic Appliances. 7.4 per cent. 3 per cent. for vacuum cleaners. July … 76 I.B.M. Rental Charges 10 per cent. 5 per cent.—7 per cent. on equipment already installed. October … 87 London Taxicab Fares 20 per cent. 11½ per cent.
National Board for Prices and Incomes on specific price proposals.355W
Date Report Number Reference Proposed increase N.B.P.I. recommendation 1969 May … 111 Steel Prices Price increases to produce an increase in revenue of £50–55 millions. Price increases to produce an increase in revenue of £40 millions. June … 118 Non-alloy Bright Steel Bars. 20 per cent. 10 per cent. 119 Man-made Fibres (First Report). 9 per cent. proposed rise in viscose rayon (Courtaulds). 5 per cent. August … 133 Cement Prices 23s. 4d. per ton* 13s. 6d. per ton. November … 136 Beer Prices 4.5d. per pint 2d. per pint. * The original proposal was for 12s. per ton, but this was revised while reference was before the N.B.P.I.
III. CASES WHERE N.B.P.I. ACCEPTED INCREASES IN PRICES AND CHARGES TO THE FULL AMOUNT PROPOSED Date Report No. Reference Proposed increase Remarks 1966 February … 12 Coal prices Various increases in pithead prices to recover £80m. deficit. September … 20 Laundry and dry cleaning Domestic laundry 10½ per cent., Dry cleaning 7½ per cent. November … 22 Building Society Interest Rates. From 6¾ per cent. to 7⅛ per cent. 1968 March … 56 Proposals by the London Transport Board and British Railways Board for fare increases in the London area. Average of 14 per cent. 57 Gas Prices (First Report) Increase in gas tariffs of 8.7 per cent. 58 Post Office charges Various increases in postal and telecommunications tariffs. Allowed with minor modifications. May … 66 Price of Butyl Rubber 3½d. per lb. 67 Passenger Fares and Freight Charges of the North of Scotland Orkney and Shetland Shipping Company Ltd. 10 per cent. … 72 British Rail Countryside Fares 8.2 per cent. in standard firstclass fares, 4.6 per cent. in standard second-class fares. July … 75 Chocolate and Sugar Confectionery. Various 1969 January … 100 Synthetic Organic Dyestuffs and Organic Pigments Prices. 8–10 per cent. May … 112 Proposals by the London Transport Board for Fares Increases. Minimum bus and underground fares up by 1d.; other fares up by 3d. and 6d. 121 Post Office Charges Increase to meet shortfall on inland parcel post and remittance services. August … 124 Coal prices Industrial coal 7s. 6d. per ton, Domestic coal 15s. and 20s. per ton. November … 130 Plasterboard prices 6 per cent.