§ 17. Mr. Anthony Coombs
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest information on the investment intentions of manufacturing industry.
§ Mr. Anthony Coombs
I welcome the buoyancy of manufacturing investment intentions, especially as last year there was the largest increase in manufacturing investment for 25 years. Is my right hon. Friend aware of a recent survey on industrial space take—up throughout the country which indicated that more than one third of the total industrial space taken up last year was in the west 1173 midlands? Does not that show clearly and unequivocally how geographically broadly based the economic expansion of this country has become?
§ Mr. Win Griffiths
Is the Minister aware that, despite high investment in industry, the CBI survey pointed out that, for the first time for three years, more exporters are gloomy about prospects than before, and that in Wales more than one in three manufacturers who export are reporting reductions in their orders because of the high interest rate policy? Are we not suffering because of the Chancellor's desire to give money hand over fist to the wealthy?
§ Mr. Major
Manufacturers in Wales and elsewhere recognise clearly that renewed inflation is far more damaging to them than is the medicine necessary to ensure no renewed inflation.
As regards the CBI survey, the hon. Gentleman quoted very selectively. The CBI said quite clearly that the figures indicate that strong manufacturing investment is set to continue.