asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the response to his appeal for the stabilisation and reduction of dividends and prices made through the conjoint effort of the Federation of British Industries, the National Union of Manufacturers and the British Association of Chambers of Commerce.
It is not possible as yet to make any further statement on this matter, or to evaluate the response which has been made to the Chancellor's request for a reduction in prices. If the organisations concerned would publish the lists of reductions which have taken place the public would then be able to form their own opinion.
When will my hon. Friend be able to inform the House of his opinion about this matter, because there is an impression that the response so far has not been too satisfactory in many cases?
As a number of British companies operating outside the United Kingdom are concerned with the development of raw materials, and badly need fresh capital, does the hon. Gentleman think they should observe the dividend restriction, or would it not be better, in the interests of everybody, that they should pursue the ordinary course of business?
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that certain Government Departments have recently put up their prices? How does he expect companies and public bodies to reduce their prices, when the Government do exactly the opposite.
Is it not very difficult for the public to judge, when Purchase Tax has been increased on many household and other articles and when subsidies have been taken off certain articles, and prices have increased in spite of the fact that manufacturers have decreased their prices?
Surely the hon. and gallant Member realises that the Purchase Tax has been increased only on luxury or semi-luxury articles and goods. In reply to the hon. Member for St. Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield), it was recognised in the White Paper on Personal Incomes, Costs and Prices that there might be some cases where a rise both in wages and prices would be justified.