HC Deb 26 October 1971 vol 823 cc1451-2
7. Mr. Trew

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average annual rate of increase of personal saving at constant prices per head of population between October, 1964, and June, 1970, and from June, 1970, to the latest available date.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Comparing twelvemonth periods ending in June, the annual rate of increase in personal saving per head of the population at 1963 prices was about 1 per cent. between 1964–65 and 1969–70. On present provisional estimates the increase between 1969–70 and 1970–71 was 8 per cent.

Mr. Trew

Would my hon. Friend not agree that this dramatic improvement is due both to Government cuts in taxation and to the feeling of confidence in the future under a Conservative Government?

Mr. Jenkin

I entirely endorse my hon. Friend's comment.

Mr. Joel Barnett

If the Financial Secretary is taking credit for increased savings, is he prepared to take the blame for the increase in unemployment involved in the same plan?

Mr. Jenkin

I do not think the two matters have anything whatever to do with each other. My right hon. Friend has made it abundantly clear that there is no question of planning the present level of unemployment.

Mr. Emery

Is it not normally the case that an increase in savings means an increase in investment and that increased investment is exactly what we require in order to deal with the unemployment position?

Mr. Jenkin

Certainly an increase in savings is needed if increased investment is to be achieved, and increased investment is confidently expected.

Mr. Fernyhough

Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that the substantial increase in savings reflects the great fear of many working people that by this time next week, next month, or next year, they may be out of work, and they are trying to provide for that emergency?

Mr. Jenkin

I do not accept that at all. As my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Mr. Trew) said in his supplementary question, it is a reflection of the confidence that people have.

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