HC Deb 20 February 1969 vol 778 cc745-6
6. Mr. Michael Shaw

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what discussions he has had with the National Economic Development Council about methods of encouraging a higher rate of investment in industry; and with what result.

Mr. Shore

This subject has been discussed at recent meetings of the N.E.D.C. and the Government are engaged in a series of studies concerned with various aspects of investment policy.

Mr. Shaw

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the real need in inducing industry to greater investment is to restore confidence in the future and to give assurance that there will be no more of the freezes and squeezes which have done so much harm in the last four years?

Mr. Shore

Confidence is, of course, an important factor in investment, but no doubt it has not escaped the hon. Gentleman's attention that the C.B.I. Report out today indicates a very substantial increase in expected investment during the coming year.

Mr. Dickens

Notwithstanding that Report, has my right hon. Friend seen Mr. Fred Catherwood's recent remarks that, unless this country steps up the level of investment markedly in the early future, technologically we shall miss the bus in the 1970s? Does not my right hon. Friend agree that one foundation for investment is a sustained economic growth of about 6 per cent. this year, next year and henceforward?

Mr. Shore

Economic growth is a very important factor in investment, and investment is increasing during this coming year. In a sense, Mr. Catherwood's remarks seem to have anticipated what may now be happening.