HC Deb 11 July 1968 vol 768 cc717-8
14. Mr. Barnett

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of the work of his Department in the field of short- medium- and long-term economic planning; and if he will define short-, medium- and long-term when used officially in this context.

Mr. Shore

The D.E.A.'s work on national and regional planning is a continuing process. Different timescales are of course required for different types of planning. Conventionally the short-term is considered to extend one or two years ahead, the medium-term up to five years ahead, and the longer-term a period of 15 or more years ahead, but there are no precise definitions.

Mr. Barnett

Has my right hon. Friend noted the recent Brookings Report, which confirms other reports on the British economy, indicating the extent of the problem and how it stems very much from the lack of capital investment over very many years? What plans does he have to increase the amount of capital investment both from the short, medium and long term?

Mr. Shore

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. Capital investment is certainly one of the keys to our future rate of growth and to our whole prosperity. My answer is that this Government have done an enormous amount directly to increase incentives to industrial investment. I would also point out that although we have passed through a period of falling activity, the sort of "stop" phase, nevertheless during that period we have maintained an unusually high rate of industrial investment.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Can the Minister tell us whether he is planning for the economic miracle in the short, medium or long term?