Below is the text of Mr Major’s Parliamentary Answer on the Economic Outlook, made on 14th January 1988 in the House of Commons.
Mr. Knox To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the economic outlook for the rest of the current financial year.
Mr. Major The United Kingdom economy continues to show the winning combination of strong growth, low inflation and sound public finance.
Mr. Knox The Chancellor’s economic policies have resulted in a substantial reduction in unemployment during the past year. Does my right hon. Friend think that present policies will result in a similar reduction in unemployment during the next 12 months, and does he think that there is any chance that unemployment will be less than 2 million in a year’s time?
Mr. Major I certainly do not propose to make forecasts of the future rate of unemployment. My hon. Friend is entirely correct to point out that unemployment has fallen by over half a million in the last year and 300,000 in the last six months, and today’s figures again show unemployment down by 35,000. I am particularly pleased to see youth unemployment down and an especially welcome fall in the west midlands, Wales, the north-west and the north.
Mr. Ashley Will the Chief Secretary bear in mind that the collapsing dollar is very greatly damaging to our export industries, especially the pottery industry? Notwithstanding what was said a moment ago about our exports, will he do what he can to strengthen the dollar in order to aid our exports?
Mr. Major The fall in the dollar is undoubtedly unsettling, as my right hon. Friend has made clear on a number of occasions. The performance of British exports in recent months has been excellent and we are keen to ensure that that continues.
Mr. McCrindle Does my right hon. Friend perceive any danger of overheating in the economy in the months that lie ahead? Can he give the House any indication of what steps the Government have it within their power to take if that trend should develop?
Mr. Major We do not see any signs of overheating, so I think that the second part of my hon. Friend’s question does not arise.