§ Sir Michael Neubert
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest assessment of the prospects for increased activity in the building and construction industry.
§ Sir George Young
The prospects for increased activity in the construction industry will have been boosted by the measures announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his autumn statement. The action to revive the housing market, the "window of opportunity" for use of local authority capital receipts, the changes in capital allowances and the protection of many key capital spending programmes will all help create work in the industry. Most important of all is the reduction in interest rates, which are now at their lowest level since January 1978. All that is needed now is a return of confidence, and that should begin to re-assert itself now that the Government have set out their strategy for growth.