Our intention is to reach an annual rate of growth of 4 per cent. as soon as possible and this will be the objective of the Government's new plan. But the economy is not growing at 4 per cent. at present.
Is it not true that the Labour Party's election target for the growth rate apparently exceeded our own 4 per cent. target and has had to be corrected? Is it not also the case that it was supposed to cover the social policy programme of the party opposite without increased taxation? Why then, within a month of the election, has the Chancellor of the Exchequer imposed a rise in standard rate, in petrol tax and in insurance contributions—exactly as was predicted by my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling)?
Not for the first time, the hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher) has got the thing exactly the wrong way round. The fact is, as we have discovered, that the target of the previous Administration far exceeded their performance and that the promises of the previous Administration far exceeded both their target and performance.
Can my right hon. Friend confirm the current reports that the rate of economic growth in the last nine months of the late Government was running at only half of the target?
What organisations does my right hon. Friend seek to establish in order to get the markets that a 4 per cent. growth rate will justify? Unless we get markets for our goods, irrespective of how much we produce, a 4 per cent. growth rate will not help all that much.
That aspect has been very much one of our major preoccupations in the last seven weeks and we are very busy establishing arrangements to get the export markets which, unhappily, our predecessors failed to do.
Not only is the right hon. Gentleman not to assume that but he might also consider whether it would not fit the party opposite's past failure to start giving some help instead of just "knocking".