HC Deb 16 March 1993 vol 221 c172

The key to an improved trade performance lies in the competitiveness of our products, and the signs are encouraging. Earnings are now growing more slowly than at any time for 25 years. Labour productivity has been rising rapidly; and while unit wage costs in manufacturing have been rising in Japan and Germany, here they showed no increase at all during 1992. British business now has a great opportunity to expand into overseas markets and to replace imports at home; but costs must he kept under firm control.

The Government's task is to provide a clear and predictable framework for policy—to ensure that business has the freedom and the support it needs to get on with the job. Our strategy for sustained growth rests on three key principles: first, that growth comes from the private sector, not from Whitehall; secondly, that a continuing commitment to low inflation is vital if competitiveness is to be maintained; and thirdly, that the only way to increase the country's long-term growth rate is by improving the supply side performance of the economy.