Despite progress, does my right hon. Friend agree with the aims of the National Manufacturing Council for the need to double investment in the next few years? Does he further agree that there has never been any excuse for investment such as our competitors achieve, because of the increased level of profitability that this country has had under this Conservative Government and the previous one?
I very much welcome the work of the National Manufacturing Council of the CBI and am much encouraged by the ambitious targets that it has set. I agree that the present economic statistics are as favourable as I can remember.
Does not the President of the Board of Trade realise that the figures for investment per employee depend on the number of employees? Is he saying, therefore, that the 600 Pirelli workers in the cable factory at Eastleigh, who lost their jobs last year because there was no house building to support their cable production, were part of a cunning plan to improve British statistics?
The hon. Gentleman will know that a major change is going on as British industry achieves higher levels of productivity. He would serve his country far better if he recognised the need to do that, and stopped making ridiculous party political points out of the exercise.
In promoting investment, may I congratulate my right hon. Friend on his speech last week in which he complained of Euro-sclerosis? Is not Euro-sclerosis bad for British investment? Will he join me in congratulating our right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on maintaining the blocking minority in the Council of Ministers to stop damaging legislation coming—
I am extremely grateful to my hon. Friend for his reference to the Stockton lecture that I gave last week. It is vital that the whole of the Community addresses the issue of competitiveness. From that we will all gain.