Orders of the Day — Customs (Import Deposits) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th November 1969.

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Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln 12:00 am, 17th November 1969

The survey was about what investment intentions looked like for the years 1969 to 1970. There was no evidence whatsoever of the kind which has been suggested to us many times by hon. Members opposite and by other quarters that the investment intentions of manufacturing industry were about to face a down turn. The choice which one faces is between the possibility of a higher degree of investment intentions coupled with a down turn in the balance of payments, and an investment increase which is firmly based on a healthy balance of payments position.

There will be pressures on the liquidity of companies in the tax quarter, but, on the best estimates which we can make at the moment, the amount that the central Government will take out of the system in the next revenue quarter will be of the same order of magnitude as last year; and the position certainly did not become intolerably tight last year. We also know that the company sector added substantially, by about £300 million, to its net financial assets in the June quarter.

In general, at the moment all the indicators point to a healthy growth in industrial production, based on exports and investment, not on a rapid rise in consumption, and this is exactly the position which we are hoping to achieve. It would, therefore, seem far more risky to relax than to keep credit on a tight rein, although we shall certainly watch most carefully how the situation develops in the months ahead.