§ 25. Mr. Boyden
asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development, in view of the decline by £3,000,000 in exports of building materials and components in the last four years, what steps he is taking by way of credits under the Export Credits Guarantee Department or otherwise to ensure that those sections of the building materials industry whose exports have declined make a greater contribution to the export drive.
§ The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Edward du Cann)
All the services which Her Majesty's Government provide to help exporters are available to this industry as to others. Exports of building materials and components covered under the insurance facilities of the Export Credits Guarantee Department have risen by nearly £7 million in the last four years, from £16½ million in 1959 to £23¼ million in 1963.
§ Mr. Boyden
If the Department is doing its stuff, what is wrong with the producers of building materials? Surely they should be in a better position now than that of losing trade? is it not serious for the whole of the building industry if the efficiency of building producers is falling back?
§ Mr. du Cann
It is not a question of credit, as I think the hon. Gentleman will realise. My Department is taking action in the matter and the industry is participating in the Board of Trade's joint venture schemes. In particular, displays have been arranged in the specialised trade fairs at Paris, Brussels, Milan and Essen. If the hon. Gentleman will look at the total figures, he will see that the industry is doing well. Of course, we hope that it will do even better.
§ Mr. Lubbock
Will the hon. Gentleman make representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the harm being done to the cement industry by the imposition of the fuel oil tax?