HC Deb 06 April 1954 vol 526 cc216-7

Let us look at the main elements of demand at home. In real terms, Government expenditure on goods and services in 1954 will be rather higher than in 1953. The volume of consumers' expenditure also is likely to be higher in 1954 than during 1953 as a whole. As for fixed investment, work on new housing is expected to be about the same as in 1953, while the investment of the nationalised industries, both in buildings and in plant, should show some rise. These increases in demand will give considerable support to the course of production this year. Exports will depend, in part, on the level of world trade: and I hope that over the year as a whole they will be maintained.

If so, the most uncertain element in demand is investment in stocks. The level of stocks at present does not appear to be excessive in relation to the level of activity. If, as I hope, there is reasonable stability in other sectors, we can hope for stability here also. Thus, while conditions at the end of 1954 are necessarily uncertain, there are good prospects that, over the year as a whole, production should be higher than in 1953.