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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 81

What Clothing Costs

What Clothing Costs.

Next with regard to the clothing a working man and his family require. Messrs J. Smith and Sons and Messrs Veitcli and Allan, of this city, both firms being highly qualified to give an opinion, have very kindly furnished me with a carefully prepared statement of items and prices of all clothing and boots required for a worker of say 50s a week, his wife and three or four children. These statements are here and are available to the public. Messrs Smith and Sons fix the total cost of clothing without boots at £17 7s 2d per annum, and think that the difference in prices (allowing for value) between 1894 and 1908 is about £4. Messrs Veitch and Allan show that boots and 6lipDers cost no more now than in 1894 since improved machinery has counterbalanced any advance in the price of material and labour. As regards the annual cost of clothing of a worker and his family Messrs Veitch and Allan giving details fix it at £22 17s 8d now, as against £18 16s 7d in 1894. An other firm. Messrs Warnock and Adkin, also well Qualified to express an opinion, inform me that there is not much difierence between the price of ready-made goods now and 14 years ago, but perhaps it would average a little more now. All classes are, they say, wearing a better class of goods than formerly. This firm has also supplied me with an interesting table of a married worker's clothing expenses. How much of the differences of price between 1894 and 1908 is due to increased wages and how much to other causes has not been and probably could not be stated. But both firms agree in fixing the whole increase at something over £4 per annum, equal to about 3 per cent, of the workers' wages, a little over 6d in the £ even if the whole were due to increased wages, which it certainly is not if one remembers increased shop rents for example. I have thus dealt with the principal items of outlay by a worker. If you will peruse the list of other items you will see that they have been practically unaffected in price by the Act.