Industrial and Commercial Profitability

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th March 1988.

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Photo of Mr Gary Waller Mr Gary Waller , Keighley 12:00 am, 10th March 1988

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest figures for the level of industrial and commercial profitability.

Photo of Mr Norman Lamont Mr Norman Lamont , Kingston upon Thames

The net rate of return of non-North Sea industrial and commercial companies was 8·9 per cent. in 1986—higher than in any year since 1973. 1987 is likely to see a further rise.

Photo of Mr Gary Waller Mr Gary Waller , Keighley

Does my hon. Friend agree that the continued confidence of industry and commerce about future prospects contrasts with the forecasts of gloom and doom due in the autumn that we heard from Opposition spokesmen last May and June? Is not the major achievement of the Government the very changed attitude that now exists to company profitability?

Photo of Mr Norman Lamont Mr Norman Lamont , Kingston upon Thames

My hon. Friend is right, and what he says is borne out by the CBI survey, which shows strong growth in manufacturing investment and manufacturing production. Opposition Members say those words because they know of no others, even if they have no correspondence with reality whatsoever.