HC Deb 07 December 1988 vol 143 cc311-2
17. Mr. Tony Lloyd

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster by what percentage in constant value terms investment in manufacturing industries has changed from 1979 to the latest date for which figures are available.

Mr. Atkins

Investment in manufacturing industry, including leased assets, in the first three quarters of 1988 is provisionally estimated to have been only 1.5 per cent. below the 1979 average level in constant value terms. However, it was 10 per cent. greater than in the same period a year earlier, and this strong growth is forecast to continue.

Mr. Lloyd

Given those rather pathetic figures. will the Minister speculate whether the failure of manufacturing industry to invest in its and our future has any relationship with the massive and growing balance of payments crisis facing this country? What do the Government intend to do to stimulate investment?

Mr. Atkins

The hon. Gentleman has been here long enough to be aware that there was a world recession. in 1980–81. We were not unique in suffering from that recession. The fact is that investment is at an all-time high. The CBI forecasts a rise of 14.5 per cent. this year and a further rise of 9 per cent. next year. That appears to fly in the face of what the hon. Gentleman is suggesting.