§ Mr. Joel Barnett
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 15 November, what particular economic developments he was referring to in his assessment of their impact on nationalised industries' shortfall.
§ Mr. Biffen
[pursuant to his reply, 26 November 1979]: The figures for nationalised industries' borrowing during the current year, shown in Cmnd. 7746, reflect trends in their finances during recent months, and in particular take account of the impact on the finances of the Post Office of the interruption in telephone billing earlier this year. For 1980–81, as the forecast published on 22 November indicated, prospects for the level of economic activity in this country now appear somewhat less favourable than expected when nationalised industries were formulating their plans for that period. In view of the likely impact of lower GDP on the industries' internal resources, the Government thought it prudent to make a smaller allowance for shortfall than the experience of recent years might have suggested.