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Prices (Petrol Taxation)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th April 1957.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North 12:00 am, 16th April 1957

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that traders and business organisations raised their prices at the time of the Suez crisis on the ground that the 1s. petrol tax increased their distribution costs; and what action he proposes to take, by the imposition of price control or otherwise, to ensure that all prices are restored to their former level now that the 1s. petrol tax has been abolished.

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

I am not aware of any widespread increase in the prices of goods as a direct result of the temporary tax on petrol. Action by Her Majesty's Government is not called for.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he is about the only person who is not aware of it? Will he ask his wife or any housewife? He will be told that, almost immediately the Is. tax was imposed, every type of distributor increased the cost, and every type of article that a housewife buys went up in price. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Will the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, take some action to reduce prices to the pre-Suez figures, if I give him facts and figures relating to the increases?

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

I shall be interested in the hon. Member's facts and figures. His remarks are certainly not borne out by the Index of Retail Prices.

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Manchester Moss Side

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many housewives have not found the statement made by the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) correct?