HC Deb 27 July 1971 vol 822 cc188-9
4. Mr. Duffy

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will undertake an urgent review of investment incentives, in view of the latest figures of industrial production.

Mr. Higgins

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement which my right hon. Friend made on Monday, 19th July.

Mr. Duffy

But is not the hon. Gentleman aware that that statement represents the second major change in investment incentives in nine months, and does not this smack of tinkering? How does the hon. Gentleman expect the business community, including nationalised industry, to undertake long-term planning on such shifting bases? Finally, how does he expect the nationalised industries, especially the steel industry, in view of the announced policy of price restraint, to secure its long-term investment policy without being thrown eventually on to State funding?

Mr. Higgins

The steel industry is, of course, the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. On the more general point which the hon. Gentleman makes in the first part of his supplementary question, it is our view that the additional incentives which have been announced recently are complementary to those which were given earlier and do not, therefore, reflect a discontinuity of policy which would have disadvantages of the kind suggested by the hon. Gentleman.