HC Deb 25 March 1974 vol 871 cc17-8
17. Mr. Rost

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what forecast he makes of the level of production in the television and motor car industries, respectively, in the coming year.

Mr. Meacher

Although my Department makes forward assessments for broad industry groups, these are sensitive to changes in economic policies and subject to unpredictable factors at home and abroad. The margin of uncertainty attached to the forecasts is too great to justify their publication.

Mr. Rost

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the manufacturers of components for the television and motor industries are getting increasingly concerned about the Japanese export drive? In particular, will he give an assurance that he personally, and his right hon. Friend, will look at the representations he has received from a leading public company in my con- stituency, Pressac Ltd. of Long Eaton, which is extremely concerned at that increasing export drive and the loss of jobs and balance of payments problem that will result unless this is investigated?

Mr. Meacher

I have not seen the papers to which the hon. Gentleman refers, but I gladly give him confirmation that we shall look at the effect this is having on components for television sets in this country. The balance of payments position over television sets in 1972 and 1973 was adverse for this country, though I suspect that investment in plant and the necessary machinery should bring an improvement in future.

Mr. Fernyhough

Does my hon. Friend agree that the Japanese export drive began before 1st March 1974, and can he tell us what interest the hon. Member was taking in it before then?

Mr. Meacher

That is a relevant point, in view of what I have already pointed out about our overseas trade balance in television being adverse for this country in the two years before the last election.