HC Deb 06 May 1968 vol 764 cc7-8
4. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Technology what number of motor cars were produced and sold in the four calendar months between devaluation on 18th November, 1967, and 18th March, 1968; how home sales compare in this period with the equivalent four months' period in 1966–67; how exports of motor cars compare for the fourth months' periods stated; and whether he will make a statement on the level of home sales anticipated in 1968–69, following Purchase Tax increases.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Technology (Mr. Gerry Fowler)

Figures are not available for the precise periods requested as statistics are not compiled on a day-to-day basis. In the four months December, 1967 to March, 1968, 620,526 cars were produced, new registrations of cars in Great Britain are provisionally estimated at 455,830 and 181,565 cars were exported. These totals are 21 per cent. higher, 34 per cent. higher and 3 per cent. lower respectively than those for the four months December, 1966, to March, 1967. No firm forecast on the future level of home sales is possible but it is thought probable that the total for 1968 will be little different from that for 1967 and that there will be some increase in 1969.

Sir G. Nabarro

As the home demand for motor cars continues undiminished compared with 1967, which is a healthy sign, would the hon. Gentleman explain why the Chancellor raised Purchase Tax and made hire-purchase restrictions more difficult, all of which are evidently abortive measures?

Mr. Fowler

That is a question for the Chancellor, but it is, of course, much too soon after the Budget to form any reasonable estimate of the effect of budgetary measures on home demand.

Mr. David Price

When does the hon. Gentleman think that the industry will be able to achieve the target figures of growth laid down in the National Plan?

Mr. Fowler

I certainly hope that the industry will make steady progress throughout this year and next. The evidence points to an increase in production at least in 1969. I should not like to hazard a guess as to when the target figure will be achieved.