HC Deb 09 April 1963 vol 675 cc1079-80
28. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the total authorised credit outstanding to all countries outside the sterling area is for periods of repayment exceeding five years.

Mr. Maudling

Information in the form the hon. Member requests is not readily available. Credit of longer term than six months has to be authorised, and of the 1962 authorisations 21 per cent. cover credit which would not be finally repaid for over five years. The actual amount which will be outstanding after the five years is only a fraction of this.

Mr. Allaun

In thanking the Chancellor for that figure, may I ask whether he is aware that British engineering and other firms are losing contracts to certain West European countries because their credit terms to East European countries are longer than ours, either officially—I notice that the Chancellor shakes his head—or by private under-the-counter schemes?

Mr. Maudling

I keep a very close eye indeed on this matter. I do not accept that so far there is any evidence of what the hon. Member says. On the whole, I think that our credit terms are as good as anybody's. If, however, the hon. Member has any evidence, particularly of unofficial arrangements, I will be glad to have it.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, as far as I know, the engineering industry is extremely satisfied with the terms now given by the Export Credits Guarantee Department?