Growth

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th November 1975.

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Photo of Mr Jim Sillars Mr Jim Sillars , Ayrshire South 12:00 am, 6th November 1975

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the rate of growth required over the next two years to cut unemployment by half.

Photo of Mr Joel Barnett Mr Joel Barnett , Heywood and Royton

No single estimate is available. There are many different growth rates which could, in theory, halve unemployment in two years. The answer depends crucially on the assumed composition of growth, and its time path within the two-year period.

Photo of Mr Jim Sillars Mr Jim Sillars , Ayrshire South

Is my right hon. Friend aware that we used to get clearer answers to questions of that kind from Conservative spokesmen on the Treasury Bench? I do not accept that we do not have a conception of the growth required to cut unemployment by half. Will my right hon. Friend think again and write to me on this matter?

Photo of Mr Joel Barnett Mr Joel Barnett , Heywood and Royton

I am always happy to write to my hon. Friend. I am sorry that he finds the answers less clear than those that have been given on previous occasions. I am sometimes not altogether happy with the questions. I shall be happy to write to him.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Bain Mrs Margaret Bain , Dunbartonshire East

Does the Minister accept that one way of preventing further unemployment, particularly in Scotland, is for the Government to review their attitude to the Scottish Daily News? Will he bring pressure to bear on the Prime Minister to remove the Government's first option on the building occupied by the newspaper and allow the workers to use it as collateral for further funds for the business?

Photo of Mr Joel Barnett Mr Joel Barnett , Heywood and Royton

That is an entirely different question. I am not sure that, in the long run, that action would help to reduce unemployment.

Photo of Mr Michael Latham Mr Michael Latham , Melton

Do the Government expect unemployment to fall within the next two years?

Photo of Mr Joel Barnett Mr Joel Barnett , Heywood and Royton

As I have said on many occasions, there will be an upturn in the economy during the next two years, which will bring about an increase in employment.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the statement issued to the NEDC on behalf of the Government after the Chequers talks yesterday falls far short of what the Labour Party expect the Government to achieve by the policy contained in "Labour and Industry: The Next Steps"? Is that statement not virtually a repudiation of the 1973 programme and the manifesto upon which we were elected, in that it accepts private enterprise in the future rather than the Socialist policies upon which our party is based?

Photo of Mr Joel Barnett Mr Joel Barnett , Heywood and Royton

I do not agree with my hon. Friend. My view is that the statement issued yesterday indicates the need to get British industry moving again and bring it back from the decline of the last 30 years. I do not believe that the statement in any way detracts from what is contained in our manifesto.