HC Deb 23 March 1970 vol 798 cc962-3
26 and 27. Mr. Hall-Davis

asked the Minister of Technology (1) if he will publish for each major sector of manufacturing and process industry twice each year the percentage utilisation of plant capacity and the estimated utilisation one year ahead;

(2) what action he is taking to identify the sectors of industry where plant capacity is limiting output.

Mr. Alan Williams

The Department takes all action that is considered appropriate to identify any sectors of industry where plant capacity may be limiting output. There are no plans for the publication of the information requested.

Mr. Hall-Davis

Are there not signs that industry now has its capacity finely adjusted to the present level of demand and to the slow growth rate of recent years? Is there not a risk that we shall shortly be facing a capacity crisis?

Mr. Williams

I would not accept that proposition, but we do watch closely all the indicators which we receive from industry. We keep in close touch with those industries which we sponsor as a Department.

Mr. Maclennan

Would my hon. Friend resist any suggestions from industry that shortage of plant capacity can be tackled by the Government relaxing their I.D.C. policy, in view of the essential contribution which this is making to regional development?

Mr. Williams

I am sure that my hon. Friend is right to stress the importance of regional policy. We are well aware, from the utterances which we have heard, how that policy would be watered down by hon. Gentlemen opposite.