HC Deb 28 February 1972 vol 832 cc25-6
30. Mr. Sutcliffe

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will consider varying export credit guarantee interest rates in favour of the development areas.

Mr. Anthony Grant

I share the hon. Member's wish for additional orders for the development areas, but I do not think it appropriate, given the interdependence of any sectors of industry, to introduce different interest rates for different parts of the country.

Mr. Sutcliffe

Does my hon. Friend consider that rates are flexible enough, and will he consider an annual review?

May I remind my hon. Friend that a 1 per cent. difference in rates is equivalent, over a 10-year contract, to a 4 per cent. disadvantage as against our main competitors and, indeed, can lose us contracts?

Mr. Grant

Interest rates generally are kept very carefully under review, and it is the general desire of the Government to be in the middle range of export credits. On the question relating to different rates for different areas, this would cause difficulties which would not exactly help British exports, when we reflect that a firm may have components made in one part of the country which is not a development area and other parts of the operation are carried out in a development area. This would be over-complex and would not work.