HC Deb 12 June 1956 vol 554 cc226-7
30. Mr. Roy Jenkins

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is satisfied with the rate of increase of industrial production over the past twelve months; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. H. Macmillan

The rate of increase in industrial production has slowed down in the past twelve months because we have made it harder to sell at home in order to stimulate greater efforts to sell abroad. We need changes in the pattern of production and employment, and production is bound to slow down in some industries while these adjustments take place.

Mr. Jenkins

Will the Chancellor not agree that the policies of his predecessor and of himself have brought us to a more easily recognisable plateau in this respect than in regard to the index of prices? Will he further tell us whether this stagnation is a sign that the Government's policy is working or a sign that something is wrong and that something new has to be done?

Mr. Macmillan

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman has any right to regard this as stagnation. There are adjustments to be made. If we are to switch, by whatever method, be it one form of control or another, from production for home to production for export, there must be these adjustments.

Mr. H. Wilson

Does the Chancellor still stand by the views expressed by the Economic Secretary when I questioned him about this matter at Budget time, that he still expects this year to show a net increase in industrial production in this country?

Mr. Macmillan

I do not remember, perhaps because I was not present, what the Economic Secretary said; but I am sure that everything he said is very wise and is very likely.