HC Deb 06 February 1969 vol 777 cc579-80
Q3. Mr. John Fraser

asked the Prime Minister what new steps arising out of the official discussions at Chequers on 15th December, 1968, are being taken to co-ordinate the activities of the Treasury and the Department of Economic Affairs, with a view to increasing the productive use of investment grants by industry.

The Prime Minister

This subject has been under review by the National Economic Development Council at its recent meetings, and the Government have in hand studies to examine various aspects of investment policy.

Mr. Fraser

Would my right hon. Friend agree that while general exhortation to take up investment grants may bring results, it is about time that we sought out individual firms and virtually canvassed them in areas of good growth potential and particularly in areas of import-saving potential?

The Prime Minister

That is the purpose of the little N.E.D.C.s. My hon. Friend will have seen the recent figures of investment in industry, and particulrly in manufacturing industry, and the fact that they have falsified the very gloomy forecasts of hon. Gentlemen opposite.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Has the right hon. Gentleman read and studied the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Cromer, last night—[Interruption.]—and would he care to comment on the noble Lord's experienced view that this is nothing but a plumber's paradise?

The Prime Minister

I have studied that speech. It is out of order in this House to say what one thinks of a noble Lord. As for the question of investment, I am sure that the noble Lord will share the enthusiasm, which I think the hon. and learned Gentleman will feel, that the rate of investment is now so much above what it was when the Conservatives left office.

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