HC Deb 16 February 1970 vol 796 cc30-1
65. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Technology what further steps he now proposes to take to assist vehicles' exports, in view of the 11 per cent. to 13 per cent. proposed price increase for steel and the lowest level of home sales for cars since 1962; and whether he will make a statement.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Technology (Dr. Ernest A. Davies)

The full range of Government assistance to exporters is available to the vehicle manufacturers. Exports of cars have increased by 44 per cent. and of commercial vehicles by 33.3 per cent. over the last two years. No further assistance seems necessary at this stage.

Sir G. Nabarro

In view of the continued decline of the home market for motor cars and the further increases in wages settled during last weekend, is it not evident that export expansion is now threatened further, especially with the proposed 20 per cent. increase in car prices on the home market? What efforts are being made to offset this decline?

Dr. Davies

If one looks at the situation in the overseas market, there is no evidence to suggest that the British motor car industry is not capable of maintaining its competitive position. On the question of the relation between exports and the home market, I remind the hon. Member that my right hon. Friend, in the debate on this subject, said that he intended to invite the main manufacturers to hold more detailed discussions into this problem.

Mr. Ronald Atkins

Does not my hon. Friend agree that the price which foreign car manufacturers pay for foreign steel is higher than that which British manufacturers pay for British steel?

Dr. Davies

This is indeed the case and is one of the reasons why I was able to say that I was sure that British manufacturers would maintain their competitive edge in foreign markets.