§ 38. Mr. Forman
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his Department's latest estimate of the trend in company profitability.
§ 52. Mr. Tim Smith
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the annual increase in industrial profitability to the latest convenient date.
§ Mr. Lawson
The trend in company profitability is strongly favourable. The profits of non-North sea industrial and commercial companies profits in the third quarter of 1983 were up by 30 per cent. on a year earlier, while North sea company profits increased by 20 per cent. The upward trend in profits seems to be continuing. Figures for profitability are usually calculated on an annual basis. The latest estimates, published inBritish Business in September 1983, suggest that the net pre-tax real rate of return to non-North sea companies increased from 4.0 per cent. in 1981 to 4.3 per cent. in 1982. In view of the improvement in industrial profits, the rate of return will have improved substantially in 1983 although official measures have not yet been produced.