HC Deb 25 June 1979 vol 969 cc14-5
16. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the index of production in manufacturing industry in the most recent month for which figures are available; and what was the figure in the same month in 1974.

Mr. David Mitchell

The latest available figure for the index of production in manufacturing industry is the provisional estimate for April this year of 106.8. The index for April 1974 stood at 108.3.

Mr. Knox

Does my hon. Friend agree that the fall in manufacturing output during the period that the last Government were in power showed clearly how their industrial strategy had failed? What steps does my hon. Friend intend to take to ensure that manufacturing output rises during the term of this Government?

Mr. Mitchell

Under the last Government the problem with industry was that incentives were so small that it was like trying to run a Rolls-Royce on one-star petrol. The changes that we have started to introduce, beginning with the Budget, are designed to restore incentives and make it possible for business men in companies of all sizes to seek extra business and to expand.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

Does the index have any real meaning, and why do we have to have it?

Mr. Mitchell

To answer that I should need prior notice of a wholly different question.

Mr. Dobson

What machinery is the Minister establishing to monitor any relationship that there may be between the so-called incentives introduced in the Budget and growth in manufacturing output?

Mr. Mitchell

The index to which I have referred is one of those indices that we shall use in considering the results.

Mr. Adley

Will my hon. Friend not lose sight of the importance of the service sector in generating new jobs and wealth in the community?

Mr. Mitchell

It is a feature of more advanced industrial societies that service industries provide an increasing proportion of jobs.

Forward to