HC Deb 22 July 1970 vol 804 cc519-20
18. Mr. Marten

asked the President of the Board of Trade which industries will benefit on Great Britain joining the Common Market; and which will not.

Mr. Noble

Most British companies which are competitive in world markets should benefit from the greater opportunities offered by entry into the European Economic Community. Those industries which are contributing to the rapid expansion of our exports to Western Europe should be well placed to do even better.

Mr. Marten

That answers only half the Question. I am concerned with what industries will not benefit. As the Government are now appearing to make up their mind about these matters rather more quickly than the previous Government did, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether the Government are thinking of issuing another White Paper setting out the advantages of going in, and whether, economically speaking, these are quantifiable yet?

Mr. Noble

I accept my hon. Friend's rebuke that my reply answers only half his Question. I very carefully did not include specific industries, in case they thought that I was saying that they were either not competitive or not doing enough work in trying to push exports. This is a problem in which, quite often, industries are not to be judged as a whole. Some parts of an industry do extremely well, while other parts of it are a little less good.

Mr. Eadie

The right hon. Gentleman must be aware that what is worrying people in Scotland is not the industries that will benefit if we go into the Common Market but those that will not; for example, the coal mining industry and the agricultural industry. The right hon. Gentleman must have knowledge of this as he is a Scottish Member of Parliament.

Mr. Noble

I profoundly disagree with the hon. Gentleman's remark about the agricultural industry. Perhaps my Scottish background makes me feel that we are the most efficient part of the agriculture industry in Britain. I am certain that we are competitive and will do well.