HC Deb 05 June 1956 vol 553 c863
28. Mr. Osborne

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the fact that motor car exports were down for the fourth month in succession, being 26,082 for April, 1956, against 33,345 for April, 1955, and making only 99,592 for the first four months of this year against 123,928 for the same period last year, if he will invite both sides of the industry to meet him to see how far the price of our cars can be reduced, so that they may be more readily sold abroad, and a slump in the industry be arrested.

Mr. Low

My right hon. Friend is advised on matters affecting the Motor Industry by the National Advisory Council, on which both sides of the industry are represented and which meets regularly. The next meeting is on 27th June, when the industry's exports will be considered. Prices must, of course, be matters for the commercial judgment of the manufacturers.

Mr. Osborne

In view of these alarming figures, which show a fall in exports in each of the last four months, and in view of the fact that there is a slump starting in the Detroit motor industry, does not the Minister think that we ought to get our own people together and put our own house in order before that American setback really hits us in this country?

Mr. Low

But our people come together, and my right hon. Friend is in touch with them through the National Advisory Council.

Mr. Lewis

When the National Advisory Council meets, would the Minister put to them the suggestion contained in the Question, which is an admirable one, particularly that of trying to save money and cutting down the prices of cars? Would it not be a good thing if a few more Sir Bernard Dockers were sacked and we got on with the job of reducing the prices of cars?

Mr. Low

I am certain that the motor car manufacturers know full well the importance of cutting costs. It is in their own interest. Their livelihood depends upon increasing their production and increasing exports, and I have no doubt that they will do so if they can.