HC Deb 31 July 1974 vol 878 cc358-61W
Mr. Blaker

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will list the growth rates in the member countries of the EEC over the past 10 years, and the percentage of industry and commerce in each of those countries which is in public ownership.

Mr. Meacher

The relative importance of public ownership in an economy can usefully be seen in terms of (1) numbers employed (2) output (3) investment. The shares are expressed as a percentage of totals in all sectors—excluding agriculture—rather than industry and commerce because of differences in treatment of services in different countries. Growth rates refer to national product per head and include agriculture. It has proved impossible in the time available to provide comparable figures for public ownership for EEC member States other than France, Italy, Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium and United Kingdom. The figures have been summarised from a recent report of the European Commission. There are considerable differences in coverage and the shares should be viewed as illustrative rather than definitive. The figures refer to what in the United Kingdom would be called public corporations and not the Government sector.

Employment Output (Gross value added) Investment
France (1971) 10.5 11.5 24.0
Italy (1971) 7.5 11.0 40.0
Federal Republic of Germany (1968) 7.5 11.0 17.5
Belgium (1968) 5.0 6.0 13.0
United Kingdom (1972) 7.5 10.5 16.0


  • (1) Commission of European Economic Community, Second Report on Competition Policy Brussels-Luxembourg, April 1973.
  • (2) National Income and Expenditure 1973.

Average per cent. per head
United Kingdom 2.3
Luxembourg 2.5
Ireland 3.3
Germany 3.7
Denmark 3.8
Italy 3.9
Netherlands 4.2
Belgium 4.3
France 4.7

Source: National Acounts: Aggregates. Statistical Office of the European Communities.

Notes on coverage of Public Undertakings

France: Excludes all financial undertakings of which a considerable number are in public ownership. Includes nationalised undertakings and national semi-public companies plus industrial and commercial public services and certain intervention agencies.

Italy: EEC warns that "figures on numbers employed are not sufficient by themselves to give an idea of the scale of the operations of undertakings partly owned by the state". Employment and investment figures do not include some of the autonomous undertakings. Output share excludes all autonomous undertakings.

Germany: Public sector includes undertakings controlled by the central authority (Bund) and the local authorities (Landes and municipalities).

Belgium: Includes all public undertakings with national status. Figures based on sample census.

United Kingdom: Includes all public corporations as defined by the CSO. It does not include those trading bodies which are treated as part of the central government sector such as Forestry Commission, Royal Ordnance Factories.

Mr. George Gardiner

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will seek evidence from industries and enterprises concerned with clothing manufacture, metal goods manufacture, office equipment manufacture, furniture, glass products manufacture, brewing, carpeting, blanket manufacturing, man-made fibres, building products, heavy engineering, light engineering, food manufacture, private sector steel manufacture, insurance, jointstock banking, electronics, petrochemicals and commercial vehicle manufacture respectively on the likely effects on them of a British withdrawal from the EEC; and whether he will then publish their submissions.

Mr. Meacher

No. The objective of renegotiation is to obtain the right terms for the United Kingdom's continued membership of the Community. But I am always ready to receive the views of bodies representative of industry, including individual firms and unions.

Mr. George Gardiner

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what submissions he has received from the paper and board industry; motor manufacturers and traders; the mechanical engineering industry; the textile industry; the British Steel Corporation; and scale and weighing machine manufacturers, respectively, on the likely effects on them of a British withdrawal from the EEC; whether they judge it to their advantage for Great Britain to remain a member of the EEC; and whether he will publish their submissions.

Mr. Meacher

I have received representations from a number of quarters. There are some who argue the advantages of remaining within the EEC; but in general there is support for the Government's approach which is to renegotiate better terms for our continuing membership. I think it is for the organisations concerned to publicise their views.

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