§ The Minister of State, Department of Employment (Mr. Albert Booth)
It is not practicable to apportion the present unacceptably high total of unemployed between the various factors which have depressed economic activity here and in other countries.
§ Mr. Booth
The present excessive rate of inflation threatens our creditworthiness as a nation and our ability to compete for our due share of world trade. To that 1478 extent it must pose a threat to employment in this country. To the extent that we can overcome it, we should as a nation be able to expand our international trade so as to improve the employment situation.
§ Mr. Ronald Atkins
Does my hon. Friend agree that there is much glib and inaccurate talk about inflation being the cause of unemployment? Does he accept that unemployment more frequently follows deflation? If we look at the countries of the world with the lowest rates of inflation, it is to be noted that they have the highest rates of unemployment. Would it not be better to invest more money in this country to create employment, and to correct the balance of payments problem by selective import controls and the abolition of the export of capital abroad?
§ Mr. Booth
My hon. Friend will appreciate that in my original answer I did not accept the proposition that inflation was the only cause of unemployment in this country. I agree that many other factors are involved. However, to the extent that we are a trading nation and are dependent on a level of world trade to invest and to carry out those public activities which have a heavy bearing upon employment in this country, we cannot ignore inflation as one of the factors.