HC Deb 01 April 1969 vol 781 c226
34. Mr. Alison

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he now estimates that he will achieve the forecast rate of growth for the economy in 1969 made on 17th January, 1968.

Mr. Diamond

I would ask the hon. Member to await my right hon. Friend's Budget Statement.

Mr. Alison

That is a quite unsatisfactory Answer. The original forecast of a 4 per cent. rate of growth for 1969 was made not in the context of last year's Budget statement but on 17th January, 1968. Will the right hon. Gentleman now confirm that we shall have at least the 4 per cent. safe, sustainable rate of growth in 1969 that the Chancellor forecast long after his last Budget?

Mr. Diamond

With his usual accuracy, the hon. Gentleman has referred to my right hon. Friend's statement in January, 1968, when he said that he believed we could reckon on a growth rate of some 4 per cent. a year for that year and next. "That year" was 1968, and for 1968 the economy grew at about 4 per cent. My right hon. Friend will be dealing with 1969 and associated matters in his Budget speech.

Mr. Higgins

If the Chancellor were prepared last year to forecast the figures for 1969, why is he not prepared to do so now?

Mr. Diamond

Because he expects that the hon. Gentleman and the whole House would like to have up-to-date information.