§ 29. Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider the use of investment reserve certificates, similar to tax reserve certificates, in order to stimulate a level growth of industrial investment; and what official discussions he has had with industrial leaders on the subject.
§ Mr. Jay
As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer indicated in his Budget statement, it is the Government's intention to review the present tax incentives to industrial investment. The hon. Member's suggestion will be borne in mind in this review. My right hon. Friend and I would welcome the views of industrial leaders on this whole subject.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
Does the President of the Board of Trade realise that there is a good deal of anxiety that the whole modernisation of Britain, which featured 673 so largely at the last General Election, will come to a shuddering halt, and there is, therefore, particular merit in schemes of this sort, notably in relation to the machine tool industry which has a cyclical tendency? Would it not be a great advantage if some incentives of this kind were introduced?
Mr. Gresham Cooke
Has the right hon. Gentleman studied the cyclical pattern of industrial investment? Will he not agree that we seem at the moment to be at the top of a very slippery slope from which we may come down very quickly, and, if this be so, would not the remedy be to introduce these industrial investment certificates in the autumn? How far have his conversations with the Chancellor of the Exchequer got on this subject?
§ Mr. Jay
If we are at the top, then, obviously, we are not in the dire condition suggested by the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Sir Ian Orr-Ewing). But we are examining this, and I imagine that even the hon Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) does not want us to introduce another Finance Bill next week.