§ 24. Mr. FORREST
asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department if he will state the acceptances and refusals he has so far received of the Government's invitation to overseas buyers to attend the coming British Industries Fair?
§ 26. Sir HARRY BRITTAIN
asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether he can give the House any information with regard to the forthcoming British Industries Fair?
§ Mr. HACKING
The prospects for the forthcoming British Industries Fair which will be held in London and Birmingham from February 18th to March 1st next are extremely satisfactory. In London we have received applications from 1,295 British manufacturers for 297,476 square feet. This surpasses the record achieved this year when 257,000 square feet were let. In Birmingham the whole of the available area, 200,720 square feet has been let for some time past and the Birmingham authorities are now forming an open air section. As regards buyers, the situation is equally satisfactory. The number of overseas firms which have informed my Department that they will be represented at the Fair is six times as many as at the corresponding date last year, when only 110 firms had accepted the invitation though the actual number who attended was 1,958. We have to date received 640 acceptances which is a clear indication that the number who will attend the Fair will be considerably in excess of this year's figures.
§ Sir H. BRITTAIN
Following upon that very satisfactory information, will the hon. Gentleman consider some time giving the North of England also an opportunity of having a section of this Fair, as well as Birmingham and the Metropolis?
§ Mr. HACKING
It is not a very good thing to spread the Fairs up and down the country. If we do that, we find a great deal of difficulty in persuading overseas 1681 buyers to attend all the Fairs. It is better that we should concentrate in one or two centres.