HC Deb 11 November 1982 vol 31 cc660-1
11. Mr. Lofthouse

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Industry Act forecast for the economy will be published.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

As the hon. Member will be aware, the Industry Act forecast was published last Monday as part of the autumn statement.

Mr. Lofthouse

Although the Chancellor has taken the decision to make the pensioners pay for the Falklands war, having heard the advice of the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) and Lord Gormley, will he change his mind?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I have taken no such decision. Pension levels will be adjusted at the appropriate time to continue to provide compensation for changes in price levels.

Mr. Dorrell

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that, as a trading nation, it is unlikely that we can achieve sustained and dramatic improvements in our economic position in isolation from the rest of the world? Will he take every opportunity to encourage our Common Market and OECD partners to resist all temptations to retreat into a policy of restriction of world trade and instead ensure that there is adequate liquidity within the international monetary system to allow an increase in world trade?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

I agree that it is important to regard this as an international as well as a national question and to see that the international financial institutions are equipped to play their part. I agree, too, as the Leader of the House said last night, that it is important to maintain an open trading system rather than to retreat into competitive protectionism.

Mr. Joel Barnett

Would the Chancellor now care to answer the question put to him by the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) yesterday as to what is his intellectual case for arguing that his simple policy of reducing the rate of inflation will improve industrial growth and employment prospects?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

The reduction of inflation as one component in a sensible economic policy is something to which the right hon. Gentleman frequently attached importance when he spoke form this Dispatch Box. He also argued equally eloquently that it was an important component in achieving improved economic performance.