HC Deb 27 November 1991 vol 199 cc910-2
17. Mr. Strang

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has recently received about manufacturing output.

Mr. Lilley

The most valuable of the representations that I have had on manufacturing industry is the excellent report from the manufacturing advisory group of the CBI, which hails the resurgence in manufacturing that began in the 1980s and calls on us to continue and to build on the policies that brought that about.

Mr. Strang

Given that British manufacturing output for the previous quarter was 5 per cent. down on a year ago, and is only 6 per cent. higher that it was in 1979—while that in west Germany has risen by 26 per cent., that in the United States by 32 per cent. and that in Japan by 36 per cent.—is not it clear that Government policies on manufacturing industry have been little short of disastrous? When will the Secretary of State increase investment in manufacturing industry and halt the haemorrhage of jobs?

Mr. Lilley

The hon. Gentleman's primary point was the customary short-term Labour party view—a 12-month view. He singularly ignores the performance of manufacturing under the Labour Government, when output fell. I reiterate that, as the CBI report says, manufacturing output is now up by 25 per cent. on that of 10 years ago, investment up by one third, productivity up by more than one half and manufactured exports up by almost three quarters. Our share of trade in world manufactures has outstripped that of Germany, France, America and Japan.