HC Deb 26 January 1960 vol 616 cc5-6
5. Mr. Wyatt

asked the President of the Board of Trade the increase in productivity per hour of British workers since 1954.

Mr. J. Rodgers

I regret that estimates covering all workers are not available. In the manufacturing, building, mining and public utility groups of industries output per man hour is estimated to have risen by 10 per cent. or slightly more between 1954 and 1959. The rate of increase in other occupations is generally less than in these industries.

Mr. Wyatt

Is it not the case that most of the increase has taken place in the last year? Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that in Western Germany during the same period the increase in productivity has been two and a half times as great, as a result of the vastly increased investment in capital goods, machinery and equipment which the Government here have been deliberately restricting? Does not this shake the Government's complacency about the state of British industry? Is it not time that the Government stopped saying, "We have never had it so good", and did something about equipping our industry decently so that British workers' productivity could rise faster?

Mr. Rodgers

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that there is no such complacency on the Government Front Bench. The international comparisons to which the hon. Gentleman referred are difficult to interpret, but there was probably more scope among the other European countries for raising productivity by large capital investment and in other ways than in the United Kingdom or in the United States.