HC Deb 21 December 1967 vol 756 c1467
31. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs whether he will make a statement on the work of the general planning group of his Department; what industries have been selected for detailed study; and how this work is related to the work of the economic development comittees.

Mr. Dell

The group is primarily concerned with medium-term forecasting and planning, both macroeconomic and in relation to major industries. There is close co-ordination between the group's work and that of the economic development committees.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Is it possible to use this study and research in order to draw up practical export promotion and import saving targets for industries? Second, could my hon. Friend help to bring trade unionists into discussions about such targets as a practical job which we need to do now?

Mr. Dell

The establishment of such targets might be useful, but if they were to be meaningful the industries concerned would have to be committed to them. This is one aspect of the problem which is being discussed in the economic development committees, where the trade unions are represented.

Mr. Marten

In order to help the country understand the Government's economic policy, will the Minister publish the assumptions on which these planners are working?

Mr. Dell

As the hon. Gentleman will know from a reply which the Prime Minister gave on 12th December, discussions are now going on with the N.E.D.C. about the prospect of a future plan. Although we cannot say when such a plan would be published, these discussions will include such assumptions as the hon. Gentleman mentions.