asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer which economic indicators confirm the effectiveness of his economic policies.
The foundations for improved economic performance are being laid. Inflation has been halved since the spring of 1980, realism is returning to pay bargaining, and productivity is now rising rapidly. Manufacturing output rose by 1½ per cent. between the second and third quarters; total output (GDP) increased by ¼ per cent. over the same period; the CBI and FT business surveys have shown more favourable trends since the end of last year, with encouraging developments in our export performance—confirmed by the recent trade statistics; engineering and construction orders are 10 to 15 per cent. higher than in the second half of 1980; private sector housing starts are over 40 per cent. up in the year to the third quarter; while short-time working in manufacturing has fallen to one-quarter of its January peak, and overtime working is beginning to pick up.