HC Deb 11 October 1976 vol 917 c9
8. Mr. Neubert

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what is his estimate of the effect on prices of the additional investment relief announced in the consultative document and the additional relief announced by the Chancellor.

Mr. Hattersley

It is not possible to make accurate estimates of the effect of individual Price Code changes on the overall price levels. We estimate that the total effect will be an increase of about 1 per cent.

Mr. Neubert

What will be the effect on consumer prices of the £1 million a day extra cost to industry which the CBI believes to be the result of raising the minimum lending rate to a record 15 per cent.?

Mr. Hattersley

It depends on many imponderable factors, such as how long the minimum lending rate continues at that level and the effect of the depreciation of sterling, or—as I hope and believe—the rate of appreciation of sterling. Because of these difficulties, it would be unwise to make arithmetical estimations.

Mr. Giles Shaw

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that when that concession was introduced in the Price Code the intention was to stimulate investment? Does he agree that, in view of today's interest climate, that intention will not be realised? Will he therefore revise the provision in the Price Code on interest relief?

Mr. Hattersley

I cannot agree, and I shall try to express my disagreement at greater length tonight. For the moment, I remind the hon. Gentleman of something said on television by the Director-General of the CBI, I think on Thursday evening, that industrial investment decisions will depend far more on companies' views of stability, and the success which I believe last Thursday's measures will certainly have, than on a couple of points on the minimum lending rate. I am sure that that is a correct analysis.