31 JULY 1936, Page 2

High Prices in France During recent weeks there has been

much evidence of the high cost of living in France, for which M. Blum's Government cannot be held responsible. Thus, in the prices officially quoted at the Mlles Centrales, there have been, between June, 1935, and June, 1936, advances of 50 per cent. in the prices of essential foodstuffs. The problem will become more serious, however, owing to the increases in costs following the victory of the Popular Front. Wage-rises of from 12 per cent. to 20 per cent. and the introduction of the 40-hour week throw a heavy burden on industry ; but the immediate sufferers appear to be the small manufacturers and shopkeepers, who have to pay more in wages and more for the goods they buy. The Government is already finding it necessary to introduce stricter measures of price-control, but some help must be offered to the small traders, who are chiefly Radical, if they are not to become disillusioned with the Popular Front. The high cost of living shows itself also in the decline in the tourist traffic in recent years, but the Government's efforts to overcome it by a propaganda campaign cannot have much effect so long as the franc remains overvalued. The financial position is far from promising, for a deficit of 6,650,000,000 francs for 1936 is anticipated.

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