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Business Investment

Volume 173: debated on Thursday 7 June 1990

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what amount total business investment has increased in real terms over the past three years for which figures are available.

Business investment grew by over 40 per cent. in real terms in the three years to 1989, the largest increase over a three-year period since the war.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the most encouraging aspect of the investment scene is the amount of investment being made in this country by foreign companies, illustrated this week by the Invest in Britain Bureau, which announced that up to 15 March this year, 233 investments had been made in Britain? It was illustrated also by the fact that 40 per cent. of all Japanese investment in the European Community came to this country, 9 per cent. went to West Germany and only 6 per cent. went to France, proving that other countries know the fundamental strength of the United Kingdom economy.

My hon. Friend makes a good point. This country does well, compared with its competitors, in the receipt of Japanese and American investment. That investment has been into certain key sectors, and there have been particularly important investments in the motor industry. I entirely agree with my hon. Friend.

Will the Chief Secretary mount an urgent investigation into the latest small business to be registered in Britain, National Front Printers Ltd? Will he ensure that that company, which seems to have come into being aided and abetted by officials and possibly Ministers at the Department of Trade and Industry, does not enjoy any tax reliefs or other benefits from the Treasury?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that much of that massive business investment has been in manufacturing industries in Yorkshire, and particularly in my constituency, and that it has contributed to reducing unemployment? Will he congratulate the wool textile export companies which are managing in difficult times to increase their exports?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Last year, manufacturing investment grew by about 6ΒΌ per cent. to reach its highest-ever level, and I agree with her comments about the wool textile industry.