asked the Minister of Labour what is the aggregate increase in weekly wage rates as at the end of the last convenient week in the present year, and the available figures for the corresponding week in the two preceding years; and whether the advance in weekly wage rates now equals the rise in the official index of the cost of living since the outbreak of the war?
On the basis of such information as is available to my Department, relating mainly to rates of wages fixed by statutory orders or by collective agreements between organisations of employers and workers, it is estimated that the average increase in weekly full-time rates of wages since the beginning of the war was about 27 per cent. at the end of January, 1942, as compared with about 18 per cent. at the end of january, 1941, and about 5 or 6 per cent. at the end of January, 1940. The official cost of living index figure at 1st February, 1942, was approximately 29 per cent. higher than at 1st September, 1939.