HC Deb 25 November 1958 vol 596 cc206-7
27. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the need for foreign orders by Aberdeen engineering firms, what efforts he has made, and with what success, in conjunction with the Secretary of State for Scotland or otherwise, to assist those firms in securing such orders on the one hand and in securing credits to execute such orders and export the products on the other hand.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. John Rodgers)

Export officers of the Board of Trade have been in touch with a number of Aberdeen engineering firms during the year; and the services of the Board of Trade, of overseas commercial officers and trade commissioners and of the Export Credits Guarantee Department are always at the disposal of firms, whether in Aberdeen or elsewhere, who may look to them for assistance.

As regards the last part of the Question, the Export Credits Guarantee Department announced on 12th November changes in the terms on which they are prepared to cover orders for engineering goods, and this should help Aberdeen firms, as well as those in other parts of the country in their negotiations with overseas buyers.

Mr. Hughes

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary recall that the inadequacy of the assistance mentioned in the Question, given to Messrs. Garvie and Son, Aberdeen, and other firms of machinery makers, is increasing unemployment in the north-east of Scotland and, incidentally, is depriving this country of valuable foreign currency? Will he, therefore, extend the scope of that assistance in order to resolve those problems?

Mr. Rodgers

The firm referred to by the hon. and learned Gentleman wanted cover on sales to Egypt, a market for which E.C.G.D. cover is not at present available.