§ 43. Mr. William Paling
asked the President of the Board of Trade why, on the eve of opening the British Industries Fair, he imposed an increase of 4 per cent. on the contract price for floor space taken up by exhibitors.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
The increase of 4 per cent. which was notified to exhibitors at the British Industries Fair on 26th April, was not on the contract price for floor space, but was an increase on the contract price for shell stand construction in accordance with the terms of the contract between the Department and exhibitors. The increase arose out of a national wages award in the exhibition contracting industry on 4th February.
§ Mr. Paling
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there was much annoyance among exhibitors first, because of the increase, and, secondly, because of the abrupt take it or leave it manner in which it was put to them. Also, does he realise that some were so annoyed that they wished to protest by refusing to complete their stands in time for the exhibition?
§ Mr. Strauss
I am very sorry, but I could not catch everything that the hon. Gentleman said. The increase was wholly in accordance with the contract between the parties, and it resulted from the wage award which I mentioned. That wage award caused discussions as to what effect it should have on the increase in the prices under the contract. Any delay there was was caused by that negotiation which was in the interests of the other party to the contract.
§ Mr. Bottomley
Can the hon. and learned Gentleman say whether all the available floor space at the British Industries Fair was taken up this year?
§ Mr. Strauss
I should prefer to have notice of that question, but I think that the answer is "Yes."