HC Deb 24 April 1968 vol 763 c202
5. Mr. Hordern

asked the President of the Board of Trade what was the percentage change in capital investment by manufacturing industry in 1967 compared with 1966; and what was the percentage change in such investment by the service industries in those years.

Mr. Crosland

Taking fixed investment, measured at constant prices, a fall of 5 per cent. and a rise of 3 per cent. respectively.

Mr. Hordern

Does this not show, conclusively, a complete lack of confidence existing in manufacturing industry and the complete uselessness of S.E.T? What is the Minister's latest information on the level of investment in the machine tool industry, which is an indicator of the level of investment in our industry generally?

Mr. Crosland

These figures show nothing of the sort that the hon. Gentleman has suggested. They show that the fall in investment in this cycle was a great deal less than at comparable periods of previous cycles. As to machine tools, if the hon. Member will put down a Question I will try to answer it. As to the future prospects for investment as a whole, if we take the last Board of Trade survey of industry's intentions it shows that there will be a rise in 1968 over 1967 of up to 7 per cent. I regard this as a highly encouraging result.