HC Deb 25 July 1985 vol 83 cc1300-1
16. Mr. Tony Lloyd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next intends to meet the National Economic Development Council to discuss the management of the economy.

Mr. Peter Rees

My right hon. Friend will chair the meeting of the NEDC on 25 September next.

Mr. Lloyd

Will the Chancellor tell the National Economic Development Council that the Government have abandoned manufacturing industry, thereby abandoning regions such as the north of England, Scotland, the midlands, Wales and Northern Ireland, all of which have traditionally depended on that industry? When will the Government take seriously the plight of the unemployed in those areas?

Mr. Rees

My right hon. Friend will give no such message to the NEDC, because it would be totally inaccurate. For example, I remind the House that the investment survey of the Department of Trade and Industry shows that there will be a 10 per cent. increase in manufacturing investment in 1985.

Sir Peter Tapsell

A central feature of economic management that has always been required by the medium-term financial strategy has been that the PSBR should represent an ever-falling proportion of GDP. When our right hon. Friend the Chancellor next meets the National Economic Development Council, will he explain both to it and to the country why we now have a PSBR that is proportionately among the lowest of any industrial country, combined with an interest rate structure that is double that of most of our industrial competitors?

Mr. Rees

As a matter of fact, my hon. Friend should note that the German deficit as a proportion of GDP is lower than ours. Their industrial performance—and it gives me no pleasure to say so—is also rather better than ours.