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Government Economic and Social Policy

Part of Orders of the Day — Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:33 pm on 9th June 1993.

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Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon 4:33 pm, 9th June 1993

The hon. Gentleman knows as well as any hon. Member that the great improvement in race relations in this country is directly related to the firm but fair immigration policies pursued by this Government. I am surprised to hear him venture down that track, in view of his record of favouring good race relations.

We promised to deliver low inflation, and we have delivered on that promise. We promised to resume economic growth, and it is now resuming. Inflation, at 1·3 per cent., is at the lowest level for 30 years. Interest rates, at 6 per cent., are the lowest in the Community. There are now too many signs of recovery for even the Opposition to ignore them. Manufacturing output has increased for months in succession and unemployment has fallen three months in a row. It is too high—I share that view—but it is moving in the right direction, and sooner than most people expected.

It is certainly sooner than the hon. Member for Dunfermline, East (Mr. Brown) expected, because, after the Budget, he said: I make one Budget forecast—that, after the Budget, unemployment will rise this month, next month and for months afterwards".—[Official Report, 17 March 1993, Vol. 221, c. 289.] One day later, unemployment fell. The next month, it fell again, and the next month, it fell again. Another sound bite is needed, I think.

The recession has been damaging, and recovery has not come easily, but it is now under way—[Interruption.]