HC Deb 29 July 1965 vol 717 cc664-5
13. Mr. Higgins

asked the President of the Board of Trade what new action or initiative he has taken within the last six weeks to stimulate exports.

Mr. Jay

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 27th July. In addition to these measures I am pressing on with the policies which I announced on 27th January and the supplementary measures that I described to the House on 8th April, 1st June and 23rd June. I am sending him copies of my statements for his information.

Mr. Higgins

The President is no doubt fully aware of the importance of exports in the fulfilment of the national plan being prepared by the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs. Can he confirm that he is being consulted on this plan at every stage and can he tell the House what changes have been made in the figures for exports in that plan as a result of the measures which he has announced?

Mr. Jay

Yes, Sir, I am being fully consulted. I can assure the hon. Member that the further measures announced yesterday will help to ensure that we will achieve the target for exports foreshadowed in the plan.

Mr. Barber

In view of the fact that since February exports have fallen each month—in March, April, May and June—will not the right hon. Gentleman now admit that the Government's policies in this respect have failed? What else does he propose to do? Does he realise that merely tinkering with the problem as he has been doing so far will not solve it?

Mr. Jay

No, Sir. As a result of the whole series of measures we have introduced—all of which were said by the previous Government to be impossible—exports are now running at a level of 4 per cent. higher than a year ago. The reason the increase has not been still greater is due to the present very high level of home demand and that is exactly why the Chancellor announced the measures on Tuesday.

Mr. Dell

In view of the fact that under the Chancellor's statement the rate of interest to cover short terms of credit may vary and may still be higher than those paid by foreign competitors, are the Government considering what more can be done in the case of short-term credits?

Mr. Jay

Yes, Sir. We have produced a regular series of improvements and we intend to go on doing so.