§ 9. Mr. Ridley
asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what has been the national rate of growth between October, 1964, and the most recent convenient date.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
Between the third quarter of 1964 and the fourth quarter of 1966 the growth in the gross domestic product was about 3½ per cent. or 1½ per cent. per annum.
§ Mr. Ridley
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that this sort of wishful thinking aloud does a great deal of harm when he forcasts rates of growth which are nothing like met in the event? Will he cease to quote rates of growth which the country cannot meet under the incompetent administration of the present Government?
§ Mr. Stewart
I do not think that I have done. so. In answering the hon. Gentleman's Question, I have told him what the rate of growth was. As I think is well known, the basic reason for not getting a higher rate of growth during this period was the constraints of the balance of payments difficulties of which hon. Members opposite are as well aware as anybody else.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us offhand of any other major industrialised country which has had a lower rate of growth over this period?
§ Mr. Stewart
I shall not answer that question offhand. If the hon. Gentleman wants answers of that kind he should put a Question on the Order Paper.