HC Deb 23 July 1985 vol 83 c453W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, further to his answer of 5 July, if he will list the factors which have caused the relative profitability of exports to increase since 1978 despite a 25 per cent. increase in relative unit labour costs; and if he will make a statement regarding the criteria which determined his use of relative profitability as a measure of competitiveness.

Mr. Fletcher

I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade gave on 16 July regarding the relationship between relative unit labour costs and the relative profitability of exports. While the latter is not a direct measure of international competitiveness in the same way as the former, it is a useful indicator of the economic background to our export performance.