HC Deb 17 June 1968 vol 766 cc693-4
23. Mr. Arnold Shaw

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what steps his Department is taking to encourage exports of building materials.

Mr. Mellish

I have asked my National Consultative Council to set up a working group to report speedily on ways of obtaining co-operation between the various export interests in the construction industry, of whom the material's exporters have up to now made the largest contribution to our overseas earnings. I am anxious that the industry should actively support its own export organisations, and I am tomorrow opening a conference in Manchester which has as a main purpose the recruitment of members for the Building Materials Export Group.

Mr. Shaw

I thank my right hon. Friend for the progress made since I asked my Question on 29th April. What part does the Building Materials Export Group play in his scheme?

Mr. Mellish

A very important part, because the building materials side of my industry is the main export side. Last year, for example, it exported £113 million-worth of building materials, and the figures for the first quarter of this year, £32.9 million, are very promising. What I have done through the N.C.C. machinery is to bring together all those in the construction industry associated with the possibility of exports under one group.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is the Minister aware that I have been informed that the specifications for our embassy in Rome prevent British heating and ventilation equipment being used there? If that is so, and if it has happened in other embassies in the past, what about specifications for future British embassies in places like Brazilia? Is the matter being overhauled?

Mr. Mellish

I cannot understand the hon. Gentleman's being informed of things that the Minister responsible is not told about. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will tell those who told him to tell me.