§ 18. Mr. Montgomery
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what 16 was the increase in volume of total retail sales in 1971 compared with 1970; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mr. John Davies
There was an increase between the two years of about ½ per cent. This comparison includes the low sales at the time of the postal strike in the first quarter of 1971, as well as the strong rate of increase since the measures announced last July. Between the second and fourth quarters the growth in volume was at an annual rate of 6 per cent.
§ Mr. Montgomery
Those figures are encouraging, but will my right hon. Friend impress on his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer the need to do everything possible to stimulate the economy? Will he impress on the Chancellor of the Exchequer the need also to have further reductions in both purchase tax and S.E.T. in the Budget?
§ Mr. Davies
I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has those matters very much in mind. The economy is expanding at about the rate foreseen by my right hon. Friend at the time of his July measures.
§ Mr. Kaufman
As the figures given by the right hon. Gentleman are not encouraging but lamentable, will he make sure that he advises his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to base his Budget on the hard facts of the situation and not on the euphoric moonshine that is being propagated by hon. Gentlemen on the Government side?
§ Mr. Davies
That again is a case of somewhat immoderate language. The fact is that a 6 per cent. increase in consumer sales between the second and fourth quarters is neither moonshine nor negligible.