HC Deb 23 July 1969 vol 787 cc1717-8
30. Mr. Biffen

asked the President of the Board of Trade by what means he collates the findings of his Department on expected changes in industrial investment with broadly similar surveys conducted by other organisations.

Mr. Dell

The expectations for investment reported by industry to my Department are compared with the changes in the responses to questions about investment intentions between successive surveys of other inquiries. This and other relevant information is used by the Government in making their own assessments.

Mr. Biffen

Since in certain respects the Government have now become converts to the Chicago School of Economics, is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a great deal of gloom on the benches behind him about the future prospects for industrial investment in Britain? Can he say whether the broad consensus of evidence available suggests that the outlook is nothing like as gloomy as some of his hon. Friends suggest?

Mr. Dell

The broad consensus on this subject is in line with the Board of Trade's last investment intentions inquiry. This is in line with what the C.B.I. has said and with what the Financial Times, on a very much smaller sample, said recently—that there would be an increase in investment in 1969 over 1968.

Mr. Barnett

Can my hon. Friend say whether the abnormally high interest rates are having any effect on current investment decisions?

Mr. Dell

They may have an effect on certain investment decisions, but our information suggests a substantial rise in investment this year.