§ 42. Mr. J. Harrison
asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken, and what further action he intends, to secure for the overseas buyers of lace and embroidery, manufactured in and around Nottingham, proper consideration for delivery, in view of delays in meeting orders as a result of the release of a pent-up home demand following derestriction of sales, which is diverting orders to foreign manufacturers.
§ Mr. H. Strauss
I assume that the hon. Member refers to Leavers laces. This industry has a fine export record and we have been assured that it will continue to give preference to exports and will maintain them at the highest possible level. Export orders have increased and this has resulted in extended deliveries in some cases. While we shall watch the position, my right hon. Friend does not consider that special Government action is called for.
§ Mr. Harrison
Is the Minister aware that, when the whole output of this particular industry can be sold on the home market, that fact suggests that there may be some difficulty in giving the necessary consideration to overseas buyers, and that it has been my experience to find overseas buyers complaining that they are right at the bottom of a long list, which prohibits purchases in our local industry. 2612 Which is a threat to the national economy and also a threat to the permanent security of the trade?
§ Mr. Strauss
We share the desire to help exports, but at the time the control was removed that was urgently necessary, and the present tendency is for the proportion of output being exported to increase.
§ Mr. Burden
Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that failure on the part of some manufacturers to keep promised delivery dates is causing some disquiet among overseas buyers, and will he do his utmost to impress upon manufacturers, through their trade associations, the need for keeping to promised deliveries?
§ Mr. Bottomley
In view of the belated recognition by the Prime Minister of the value of the export trade, can we assume that the third time will be lucky and that the present Minister responsible for overseas trade will not be changed?