asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department if he can give the House any information as to the results of the British Industries Fair in London and Birmingham; the number of visitors to each section, buyers, and general public; the approximate value of orders placed, together with the figures of the particular industries represented; and the number of new industries or firms showing for the first time?
§ 50. Mr. SUTCLIFFE
asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department the approximate amount of business transacted in the textile section of the British Industries Fair this year, and how this compares with the amount transacted last year?
§ Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE (Secretary, Overseas Trade Department)
The results of the British Industries Fair have been most satisfactory. In the majority of trades business is reported to have been secured on a scale comparable with that of the 1932 Fair which was regarded as the most successful of the series.
§ The total attendances of visitors at the London Section were:
§ The total attendances at the Birmingham Section were:
|Overseas and Home|
§ It has never been considered practicable to insist on a return from exhibitors of the value of all orders taken at the Fair, as such a picture would be misleading, since an important function of the Fair is to encourage inquiries which are followed up by subsequent orders, and I am informed that many exhibitors are particularly pleased with the new contacts made. I am satisfied that the business done in all sections has been on a scale that cannot fail to be of great benefit to the country. 412 firms exhibited in the London Section for the first time and 184 at Birmingham.
§ Mr. McENTEE
Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say how the figures that he has just read out compare with the figures for the previous year?
§ Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE
The figures are not all strictly comparable, because certain administrative changes have been made this year with regard to entry which affected the number of home buyers. The numbers of foreign buyers were practically the same. The number of home buyers showed a decrease, for the reason I have mentioned; but the general opinion is that the volume of buying has not been affected by these administrative changes.
§ Mr. HANNON
So far as the exhibition of heavy trades at the Birmingham 790 Fair is concerned, is there not universal satisfaction at the increase of foreign buyers, and the prospect of orders to come, on the part of the exhibitors there?
§ Sir ARTHUR MICHAEL SAMUEL
Is my hon. and gallant Friend satisfied that the charge of an entrance fee of 2s. has not done any harm, and is it intended that the same policy shall be pursued in the future?
§ Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE
It is early to say yet, but my opinion is that it has not done any harm; and, furthermore, it makes the Fair now entirely self-supporting, without any assistance being required from public funds.