asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the latest figure for the proportion of bank advances taken by manufacturing industry less food, drink and tobacco compared with 1970; and what are the implications concerning inflation in the real economy.
The latest information—relating to mid-November 1979—was given in my answer to the hon. Member of 14 January [Vol. 976, c. 635–8.] The analysis of bank lending by industry is available quarterly; information relating to mid-February will be announced by Bank of England press notice on 31 March.Bank borrowing by companies will reflect a number of influences, including the current rate of inflation. Future inflation will depend in turn on the rate of monetary growth, of which bank lending is one aspect.