11 SEPTEMBER 1920, Page 23

The committee of trade union leaders and Labour politicians which

held an inquiry into the cost of living has issued an Interim Report on Money and Prices (Co-operative Printing Society, for the Trades Union Congress). It is odd to find Mr. Smillie and Mr. Hodges signing a report in which the committee says : " We look to the development of productive capacity all over the world to bring about ultimately a substantial fall in prices," for their efforts have tended to the reduction of the productive capacity of their deluded followers in the mines, and to the steady rise in the price of coal. The committee think that " the rise in prices is due more to currency expansion than to contraction of production," but they urge that the contraction of the currency must be accompanied by " a steady improve- ment in productivity " so as to maintain and even to raise the standard of life. If the committee would tell their party plain terms that hard work and thrift alone can reduce pricej they would be doing a service. The report, however, recommend various theoretical Socialist schemes, including the nationalize tion of the banks, which would assuredly increase our present difficulties. The committee insists on Government economy, especially in " the enormous expenditure for military and naval purposes," but its recommendations on this point are far toe vague to be useful, and they include a proposal for more expendi- ture in the shape of higher old-age pensions.