HC Deb 14 June 1917 vol 94 cc1120-1
29. Mr. BRYCE

asked the President of the Board of Trade if representatives of the Board of Trade are arranging visits to chambers of commerce to discuss with them matters in connection with commercial intelligence; and whether, prior to such discussion, he will cause to be laid before the chambers of commerce the Reports of the Committee on Commercial Intelligence presided over by Lord Faringdon, which included a representative of the Association of Chambers of Commerce, in order that the chambers of commerce may be aware of the points at issue before being invited to commit themselves to decisions?


I am glad to say that in the ordinary course of their duties officers of the Board of Trade are continually arranging visits to chambers of commerce to discuss matters relating to trade and commerce. My right hon. Friend considers that such close association between the Department and chambers of commerce is of great mutual advantage, and he hopes to encourage and develop it to the utmost possible extent. There is, of course, no foundation for the suggestion that Board of Trade officers would either discuss or invite chambers of commerce to commit themselves to a decision on what my hon. Friend terms "the points at issue," but my right hon. Friend cannot think that it will be to the public interest to suspend the ordinary activities of the Commercial Intelligence Department pending the settlement of certain difficult questions relating to the allocation of Departmental responsibilities in the future.


The answer of the hon. Gentleman does not reply to the question. Is he aware that they have been shown the Reports of the Committee?


Nobody sees them.


When will this Report be published?


I am not aware that it is contemplated to publish the Report.