HC Deb 02 November 1954 vol 532 cc202-3
35. Mr. J. Rodgers

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he has taken, following the report of the Independent Committee of Inquiry into the overseas information services, to set up an advisory committee of industrialists to survey the whole field of commercial publicity overseas.

Mr. Low

A committee has now been appointed, and I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of its membership and terms of reference.

Mr. Rodgers

Would my right hon. Friend say, first, what arrangements have been made to co-ordinate the work in this committee with the Foreign Publicity Committee which meets, I believe, under the chairmanship of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury? Secondly, can he say whether the Government have yet given any further thought to the suggestion made from both sides of the House that this very important work should be co-ordinated by a Minister without Departmental responsibility, such as the Lord President of the Council?

Mr. Low

In reply to the first part of the supplementary question, I think that my hon. Friend is referring to a Foreign Office Departmental committee which includes representatives of the Board of Trade. In addition, arrangements have been made for officials of all Departments concerned, including the Foreign Office, to attend meetings of this new committee. As to the second part of the question, I should like more notice.

Mr. Bottomley

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Trades Union Congress has been invited to send representatives to serve on the advisory committee?

Mr. Low

Not without notice.

The details are as follows: An Advisory Committee on Commercial Information Overseas has been set up with the following terms of reference: "To keep under review the range and character of the information about United Kingdom commercial and industrial activities and achievement which is made available through official and non-official channels to and in the various overseas markets; and, in particular, in the interests of the export trade:
  1. (a) to suggest ways in which the information supplied through the existing official channels can be improved, including that supplied by industry; and
  2. (b) to explore the possibilities of increasing the information supplied through non-official channels.
And to report their recommendations from time to time to the President of the Board of Trade." The Chairman is Mr. Laurence Heyworth, and the other members are Sir Richard Costain. Sir Patrick Hamilton, Mr. J. Douglas Hood, Mr. Hubert Oughton and Mr. Claude Wallis. The Secretary is Mr. A. B. Savage, Information Division, Board of Trade.