HC Deb 17 October 1944 vol 403 cc2201-2
63. Mr. Bartle Bull

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any statement to make about the future of the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation.

Sir J. Anderson

While it is not yet possible to reach any final decision about the future of the Corporation, I feel, after consultation with my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, that we shall continue to need its services for some time at least after the end of the war with Germany. It is difficult at the moment to say precisely how long this period will be, but I think it will be for not less than 18 months after the end of the war with Germany, perhaps for somewhat longer. It is difficult to foretell what will be the pattern of international trade during the remainder of the war and in the early post-war years and it may well be that tasks will emerge in which we should like to be able to rely on the help of the Corporation. As time goes on we shall no doubt be able to form a clearer picture of the period over which we shall be likely to ask the Corporation to continue its activities. In the meantime, however, the Corporation will maintain its policy of not undertaking transactions which can properly be handled by traders, but will assist British traders wherever possible. I should like to take this opportunity to pay a tribute to the Corporation for its helpful and efficient work during the war. Viscount Hinchingbrooke: Is my right hon. Friend having in mind the actual termination of the activities of this highly successful concern?

Sir J. Anderson

Yes, Sir, in due course.

Mr. Astor

In view of the altered circumstances in Europe, will my right hon. Friend consider issuing the annual report of the Corporation?

Mr. David Eccles

Before he disbands this Corporation, will my right hon. Friend see whether there are not some intelligent men in it who could well be employed in the commercial secretariats of His Majesty's missions?

Sir J. Anderson

That is an entirely different question.