asked the Prime Minister whether the cost of living is falling in ratio with the demands made in some trades for wage reductions; and whether, in the public interest and to lessen industrial unrest, the Government is prepared to set up a commission of inquiry to ascertain the facts?
I have been asked to reply. In a great many cases wages are on a sliding scale related to the movement of the cost of living index figure. In a great many other cases this is not so, though in these latter cases agreements have been arrived at during recent months in a very large number of cases involving reductions in scales of wages. No doubt the cost of living has an important bearing upon wage adjustments. But it is not the only factor. The question of arriving at selling prices for our goods which shall find acceptance in foreign markets must always be one of the main considerations before those who have the duty of making adjustments in the several factors of the cost of production. These things being so, I do not think that the inquiry suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend would serve any useful purpose.