HC Deb 11 February 1941 vol 368 c1201
37. Mr. Liddall

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view in of the restricted opportunities for trade with foreign countries and as the Export Council working in collaboration with various Government Departments has reduced the Department of Overseas Trade and its Minister and Trade Commissioners to a position of desuetude, he will consider the amalgamation of the Department of Overseas Trade with the Board of Trade till after the war, and thereby avoid redundancy of staff and waste of energy.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

As the published figures indicate, the war has necessarily limited the volume of our exports, but export trade is still of the greatest importance as an essential part of our war effort. The difficulties which confront exporters are many and complex, and it is the function of the Department of Overseas Trade to assist exporters to overcome these difficulties. This entails a heavy burden of work on the Department, and particularly its overseas officers, as is demonstrated by the fact that the number of inquiries reaching the Department is as great as before the war. The Department works in the closest collaboration with the Board of Trade and the Export Council, of which body the Secretary of the Department of Overseas Trade is the Vice-Chairman. Special care is taken to ensure that there is no overlapping, and no advantage would result from the amalgamation suggested by my hon. Friend.