§ 11. Mr. Hendry
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the number of new car registrations in the latest period for which figures are available; and what was the comparable figure for the same period last year.
§ Mr. Lamont
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders estimates that there were 106,902 new car registrations in November—6.25 per cent. more than in November 1991.
§ Mr. Hendry
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that most encouraging reply. Is he aware that the SMMT expects car production to be up 12 per cent. next year, which is clear evidence of the recovery in the car industry? Does he agree with me that one major component of that recovery will be Toyota in Derbyshire, whose model the Toyota Carina—it might perhaps have been better named the Toyota Edwina, in view of the support received from that quarter—comes off the production line next Wednesday?
§ Mr. Lamont
My hon. Friend is absolutely right that foreign investment in the motor industry in this country is making an enormous contribution both to manufacturing output and to our exports. As my hon. Friend said, the SMMT is expecting a substantial rise in production, not just next year, when Nissan, Toyota and Honda come on stream—[Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen are quite wrong. Those companies are British companies just as much as any others. They have invested here and deserve to be regarded as British companies, just as those who came from the United States are regarded as British companies. Furthermore, I notice that DRI Europe, which does the forecasting for the SMMT, is forecasting that in the United Kingdom car output will rise from 1.4 million to 2.7 million in 1997. That is a tremendous contribution from foreign investment and ought to be widely welcomed by everyone in the House.