HC Deb 23 June 1955 vol 542 cc1484-5
25. Mr. Holt

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that lack of confidence about the future stability of prices is losing industry orders; and what action he proposes to remedy this.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Edward Boyle)

It is difficult to generalise about the factors which determine who gets an export order in any particular case. While we are no doubt losing some orders on price grounds, we are, as the export figures show, winning a lot of overseas business against severe competition. I am sure that British exporters recognise the importance of quoting firm and competitive prices wherever possible.

Mr. Holt

Is the Minister aware of the statement made recently by the chairman of the Shaw Saville Line when he had to place orders for three ships in Germany, that the tenders from British yards were uncompetitive as they had to protect themselves by long escalator clauses because of the expected rise in prices and wages?

Sir E. Boyle

Price variations and escalator clauses may sometimes lose us exports, but the Board of Trade seldom hear of such results. I think it worth pointing out that the Germans have themselves begun to resort to clauses of a similar kind in recent months.