HC Deb 06 July 1971 vol 820 cc1108-9
10. Mr. Hordern

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the growth of the gross domestic product up to December, 1971, and April, 1972, respectively.

Mr. Barber

I would refer my hon. Friend to what I said in my speech during the debate on 28th June.

Mr. Hordern

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the forecast growth of G.D.P. is based to a large extent on the increase in consumer expenditure in the second half of this year and the first half of next year? In the light of the disappointing retail sales figures announced today, will he consult my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House about a full economic debate before the House rises for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Barber

I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House will take note of what my hon. Friend has said. In any event, I shall make sure that it is drawn to his attention. I am reviewing the prospects for the economy, but, subject to the outcome of that review, I believe that the increase in G.D.P. between the first half of 1971 and the first half of 1972 will be about 3 per cent. Estimates are not available for individual months.

Mr. Cant

Will not the Chancellor admit that the estimates on which his Budget calculations were made are now widely and frankly admitted to have been incorrect? Therefore, will he hasten the day when he will add something to the aggregate demand within the economy and cease believing that he is still the only man in the Government who is in step in these matters?

Mr. Barber

I have already made it quite clear—and I stand by what I said—that I am not prepared to anticipate the general review which takes place at this time of the year. I have said that publicly both inside and outside the House. The review is normally completed about the middle of this month.