§ I start with some proposals which are intended to help in improving the efficiency of our manufacturing industry and its ability to meet the coming upturn in demand.
§ Both sides of industry have welcomed the approach to industrial strategy which we published last November and are co-operating fully in the survey of 32 key industrial sectors, to which the National Economic Development Council has agreed to give priority. Reports on these sectors will be presented by the economic development councils and working groups concerned in June. As I have already said, the Government are particularly concerned to identify potential bottlenecks which could constrain production as the economy recovers. Meanwhile, we have pleged ourselves to provide an appropriate fiscal and economic environment for manufacturing industry so that it can finance the necessary increase in investment and obtain the manpower it will need during the recovery.
§ It has been put to me many times that industry needs a stable framework in which to operate and that this is of greater importance than incentives which may be here today and gone tomorrow. Continuous alteration of the rates, structure or reliefs of corporation tax, however well-intentioned, are bound to disrupt planning.247
§ My first objective, therefore, in this field is to strengthen the stability of the tax environment. There are three areas where I can today offer a new degree of certainty.