Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on the economy, made during his visit to Tokyo on Friday 9th July 1993.
[Mr Major was asked if the summit’s communique on employment would have a relevance in the UK].
I very much hope so. Whether one looks in Europe where there are 17 million unemployed or in the G7 countries where there are 23 million people unemployed, it is clearly the biggest problem we face and the whole thrust of the discussions here is to try and create the economic circumstances that will enable jobs to be created in the years ahead.
[Mr Major was asked when interest rates would be cut in the UK and to what level].
Patently in continental Europe the interest rate level is higher than their economies can bear. They are at the moment moving into recession; we have been through that, we are now coming out of recession. We are likely to have growth this year of 1.5% to 1.75% and around 3% next year back to trend growth but that is not the case in continental Europe. Most of their economies are going into recession and they need to reduce their interest rates and I think that is generally recognised.
[Mr Major was asked about UK interest rate cuts].
I am not going to forecast what we can do on monetary policy. I think it would be very unwise to do so. One has to look at a whole range of indicators and then determine what is the right level of interest. I am not going to forecast that this morning.