§ 3. Mr. Biffen
asked the Minister of Technology if he will make a statement on the expected demand for machine tools and profitability of the machine tool industry during the next 12 months.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Technology (Dr. Jeremy Bray)
No detailed forecasts are made. It is likely that the demand for machine tools over the next 12 months will be slightly lower than during the last 12 months.
§ Mr. Biffen
Is not the Parliamentary Secretary aware that a very large number of major British machine tool manufacturers are very concerned about the prospects for their profitability, and would he take this fact very much to heart?
§ Mr. Woodnutt
Would the hon. Gentleman agree that it would help the home market for British machine tools if the Royal Ordnance factories and other Service Departments were instructed to buy British machine tools wherever available instead of buying foreign?
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
As to machine tools, will the Minister consult the President of the Board of Trade with a view to seeing that north-east Scotland gets its share of the forthcoming orders contemplated in this Question?
§ Sir H. Legge-Bourke
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a very 944 serious discrepancy between the figures on the order book states of the machine tool trade associations as distinct from those of the Board of Trade? Will he see that we can get a closer approximation of these two figures?