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Investment

Volume 178: debated on Friday 12 October 1990

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15.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest OECD forecasts for investment growth in the United Kingdom and Germany in 1990.

16.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest OECD forecasts for investment growth in the United Kingdom and Germany in 1990.

Over the past five years, total United Kingdom investment has increased by 40 per cent. double the rate seen in Germany. The OECD's latest forecast for fixed investment in 1990 was for a fall of 0·5 per cent. in the United Kingdom and a rise of 6·8 per cent. in Germany.

Does the Minister agree that it is a disgrace that we are bottom of the league in terms of manufacturing investment and that we are seeing a fall of 1 per cent. while other European countries, such as socialist France, are seeing an increase of 6·5 per cent. in manufacturing investment? What does he intend to do about that?

The hon. Gentleman obviously did not listen to my reply, which showed that our investment record compares well with those of other countries in Europe. Britain has enjoyed an investment boom. Our investment record compares extremely well with that of Germany. That is the point that the hon. Gentleman raised in his question. but he failed to take in the answer.

The Minister knows that our investment in manufacturing fell by 6 per cent. between the first and second quarters. Is he going to ensure that manufacturing investment and investment on the supply side are a central part of the strategy of ensuring that our economy and inflation improve over the next few years? Areas such as mine need more manufacturing investment. What is he going to do to support them?

Any slowdown in investment that is likely to happen as a result of the general slowdown in the economy happens from a high base. As I have explained to the House, we have enjoyed strong growth in investment—far stronger than many of our European competitors.