HC Deb 03 November 1955 vol 545 cc1194-5
26. Dr. Stross

asked the President of the Board of Trade the total value of exports of domestic pottery for 1954 and for the first nine months of 1955; and what action he is taking to assist the industry in its export drive.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

£14,300,000 in 1954 and £11,300,000 in the first nine months of 1955.

My Department keeps in close touch with the industry and the services of overseas officers and the Export Credits Guarantee Department are available to assist exporters in individual markets.

Dr. Stross

Will the right hon. Gentleman not agree that the figures that he read out are very creditable indeed for 30,000 or 40,000 workers in this particular section? As he is a Staffordshire man, will he approach his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and point out that if the Chancellor must impose a 30 per cent. tax on these goods we shall tend to lose our craftsmen and have our home market crippled and, if that is the case, lose our export trade too?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I certainly pay tribute to workers in the potteries, and not least to those in Staffordshire. I think the latter part of the Question arises in a Question to be answered by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Burden

In regard to this craft industry, will the President bear in mind the demands made on stocks, particularly for replacements in some overseas territories? Can he give an undertaking to give financial assistance where it is necessary through the Export Credits Department so that those stocks will be maintained in foreign countries?

Mr. Thorneyeroft

I would rather see that Question on paper.

28. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he intends to take on the letter sent to him on 28th October, 1955, by the British Pottery Manufacturers' Federation and the National Society of Pottery Workers; and if he will make a statement on the letter.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I would ask the hon. Member to await the reply to be given by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Question No. 51.