HC Deb 12 February 1973 vol 850 cc972-3
19. Mr. Loveridge

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of United Kingdom exports was produced by the nationalised industries in each of the past five years.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Peter Emery)

Direct exports by the nationalised industries have accounted for about 3 per cent. of United Kingdom exports in each of the past five years.

Mr. Loveridge

Is not that a very small proportion and does it not illustrate the dependence of our economy upon private industries to secure our livelihood abroad? Will the Government therefore limit the endless outpouring of capital into these monopolistic State gods?

Mr. Emery

While I accept that exports must rely considerably on private enterprise I do not think we should underestimate the fact that many nationalised industries are unable to export the product they produce. Electricity, for example, is not available for export. In the figures I have given I referred specifically to direct exports which do not take account of the amount of steel which will be exported indirectly.

Mr. Palmer

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the nationalised industries could contribute to the export trade, particularly through consultancy services, if they were allowed to do so by the present administration?

Mr. Emery

I do not believe that there is any restriction by the Government which would stop any aspect of export trade on the part of the nationalised industries, even that referred to by the hon. Gentleman.