HC Deb 02 February 1956 vol 548 cc1076-7
42. Mr. Lee

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the totals of fixed capital formation in manufacturing industry in 1951 and in 1954; and what percentage of the national income these figures represent.

Sir E. Boyle

As shown in the National Income Blue Book, 1955, Table 48, fixed capital formation in manufacturing industry was £532 million in 1951 and £584 million in 1954. These figures represent, respectively, 4.2 and 3.7 per cent. of the gross national product.

Mr. Lee

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that, considering that the base of industry has been considerably enlarged since 1951, it is most disappointing to get figures of that nature as representing the kind of investment in manufacturing industry? How does he think that industry can modernise itself and compete in the present-day world if that kind of result is to be obtained?

Sir E. Boyle

I entirely share the hon. Member's concern for a high level of investment in industry. It has been precisely for that reason that the Government have sought to restrain inflation to a considerable extent by restraining consumer demand rather than investment.