Nationalised industries are expected to earn a reasonable rate of return on capital invested in them. I am satisfied that their financial objectives take this requirement into account.
What has always to be remembered about the nationalised industries, especially the railways and coal, is that they are not capital intensive. Any general increase in wage rates must be reflected to a very much greater extent in the railways than in a great many other industries, and rises in fares are bound to follow rises in wages of this sort.
I am glad to say that the increase in productivity in the coal industry last year was over 6 per cent. and in 1962 it was over 8 per cent. These are very valuable assets.
Will the Chancellor confirm that he will be adopting the same targets as the previous Government did as regards the nationalised industries, and that this will extend to B.O.A.C. also for the writing off of the deficit and for the contingency allowance which he has agreed to make?
I answered a question in those terms about two months ago. That does not mean that I should not feel entirely free to review the basis of earnings in the industries, but the targets as targets are acceptable.