HC Deb 29 March 1976 vol 908 cc885-6
19. Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what he estimates to be the average amount of investment in industry which is required in order to create one new job; and what was the amount which would have been required 20 years ago.

Mr. Gregor Mackenzie

It is not possible to give a very meaningful figure since it varies so widely from industry to industry. One indicator—gross capital stock per employee in manufacturing at constant 1970 prices—grew from £3,000 to £5,800 in the 20 years from 1954 to 1974.

Mr. Hardy

I appreciate the difficulties of formulating an answer, but does not my hon. Friend agree that the answer which he has been able to give illustrates one the most daunting challenges faced by the present Government, showing that in areas where major changes create unavoidable heavy unemployment, as in some of the steel producing areas, considerable expenditure must be incurred and guaranteed in order to ensure that we have adequate economic opportunities?

Mr. Mackenzie

The Government are concerned about investment, as my hon. Friend suggests, and we are doing everything we can to encourage it. The accelerated capital projects scheme is one method of helping in the way suggested.

Mr. Adley

Will the Minister give an impartial answer to this proposition—that money spent on nationalisation will create no new jobs, and that a fraction of the £500 million which the Government intend to spend on nationalising the aircraft and shipbuilding industries could create very many new jobs if it were put into research, development and new production?

Mr. Mackenzie

The hon. Gentleman asks me for an impartial answer. If I did not think that the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill was valuable in terms of investment and of jobs, I should not have supported it along with my right hon. and hon. Friends.