HC Deb 10 November 1966 vol 735 cc1531-2
Q2. Mr. Dickens

asked the Prime Minister if he will take steps to establish a National Investment Board.

The Prime Minister

Not at present, Sir.

Mr. Dickens

Does not the Prime Minister agree that supervision of private sector investment decisions by a national investment board is fundamental to our economic planning? Does he not further agree that we cannot ensure that private investment is steered to key growth industries until we establish such a board?

The Prime Minister

I think that the present arrangements are about right. We have pretty strict control over the public investment programme and with private investment the House has recently approved our measures for investment grants designed to secure the right movements in investment, with particular reference to the development areas.

Mr. Barber

I understood the Prime Minister to say in his Answer, "Not at present". Does this mean that he may set up a national investment board in future? Secondly, what action is being taken to counter the alarming predictions, by the Board of Trade and the C.B.I., of falling industrial investment?

The Prime Minister

I cannot envisage any circumstances in which a national investment board would be necessary, because what would be hoped from it could be achieved in other ways. The Board of Trade estimates of the fall in investment are considerably lower than the C.B.I, estimates, but the right hon. Gentleman will have seen the recent statement by the Governor of the Bank of England and also be aware that my right hon. Friend the First Secretary has been having discussions with the C.B.I. this week on this very problem.