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Gross Domestic Product

Volume 113: debated on Tuesday 26 May 1987

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the latest information he has about growth of gross domestic product in the United Kingdom compared with the rest of the European Economic Community during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

During the 1960s, and again during the 1970s, the United Kingdom rate of economic growth was the slowest of all the major EEC economies. During the 1980s we have had the fastest rate of economic growth of all the major EEC economies.

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that, as far as growth and productivity in manufacturing industry are concerned, Britain's performance in the 1980s has outstripped even that of Japan? Does that, perhaps, account for the reluctance of the Japanese to allow British exporters access to their market on fair terms?

On the first point, it is true that during the 1980s as a whole our manufacturing productivity has grown fastest of all the G7 countries — the major industrialised countries that go to the annual economic summit. In the 1960s and 1970s, however, our rate of growth of manufacturing productivity was the lowest.

As for the most recent Japanese conduct in particular, we have yet to get a final decision, but the apparent shutting out of Cable and Wireless from an important contract in Japan is unacceptable.