Manufacturing Industry

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th March 1992.

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Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough 12:00 am, 11th March 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what has been the change in manufacturing industry productivity in the past 10 years.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Trade and Industry)

Manufacturing productivity rose by over a half between 1981 and 1991.

Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough

I thank my hon. Friend for that encouraging news. Does he agree that, at the same time, manufacturing exports increased by more than two thirds? Is that not a significant springboard for the future for British manufacturing industry?

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Trade and Industry)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. He is right that manufacturing exports have increased by nearly three quarters since 1981. In fact, they have grown faster than in the United States of America, Japan, France and Germany.

Photo of Mr Roy Hughes Mr Roy Hughes , Newport East

Does the Minister recognise that between 1979 and 1981 much of British manufacturing industry was razed to the ground? Will he now give us the figures for the whole period since 1979, when the Government came to office? I believe that they tell a rather different story.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Trade and Industry)

If we compare this stage in the economic cycle with the previous stage, we see that output is up a quarter, investment is up a third, productivity is up a half and exports are up three quarters. [Interruption.] Opposition Members may not like it, but we will keep saying it. One thing is absolutely clear: why should manufacturing industry benefit from a quadruple whammy with higher costs, higher prices, higher inflation, a minimum wage and more red tape? That is the question that the Opposition need to answer.