Skip to main content

Employment Policy (Trade Fluctuations)

Volume 400: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1944

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish statistics of the fluctuations of trade and employment relating to periods when trade was beginning to decline, on which is based the fundamental assumption in the White Paper on Employment Policy, namely, that a decline in the demand for capital goods precedes and causes a decline in the demand for consumption goods.

The White Paper on Employment Policy assumes that the main cause of fluctuations in the demand for consumption goods is the variations that take place from time to time in the national income, and so in consumer's purchasing power. This is not true of the demand for capital goods, which fluctuates often for quite different reasons. Such fluctuations in the demand for capital goods affect the national income and thus indirectly cause sympathetic fluctuations in the demand for consumption goods; but the speed with which a major decline in expenditure on capital goods affects expenditure on consumption goods is so great that actual precedence in time is often hard to establish statistically.

As that long answer is in conflict with such statistics as I have been able to look up, will the Chancellor have another go at this, because his assumption is totally unsound as far as I can find out?

Perhaps my hon. Friend will be good enough to give me the statistics he has been able to look up.