§ 10. Mr. Tim Renton
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what possibilities he sees for an increase in manufacturing employment in the United Kingdom in 1978.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said, the sector working parties in manufacturing industry have come to the conclusion that it is possible to increase the productivity of their sectors sufficiently to improve our balance of payments by some £2½ billion by 1980. Although in these sectors employment overall is not 235 likely to increase dramatically from such improvements in productivity, the balance of payments benefit they generate should enable the Government to run the economy at a level of demand sufficient to produce between ½ million and 1 million additional jobs, although many of these jobs will be in the service sectors.
§ Mr. Renton
Will the hon. Gentleman answer a question that his right hon. Friend did not answer in the debate yesterday? Did the Chancellor of the Exchequer consult the Secretary of State before quoting his figure of a 1 million increase in new jobs over the next two years? How many of those jobs will be in the manufacturing sector?
§ Mr. Walker
If the hon. Gentleman does not take for granted the close liaison between members of the Cabinet, he is thicker than he looks.
§ Mr. Litterick
Does my hon. Friend agree that it is hypocritical of the Conservative Party to assert out of one side of its mouth that unemployment in Britain is higher than in any other industrial country of the world whilst out of the other side—the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph) and the sect that follows him—it asserts that British unemployment statistics exaggerate the level of unemployment? Is not that cynical opportunism?