HC Deb 16 July 1979 vol 970 cc1016-7
16. Mr. Adley

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, pursuant to the question from the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington of 18 June concerning export of preserved steam railway engines, what steps he has now taken to implement the extension of export control.

24. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he hopes to complete his review, promised on Monday 18 June, during parliamentary questions, into matters of industrial archaeology; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

As I promised on 18 June, I have looked into the matter further. I find that the case of the Pendennis Castle, then referred to by my hon. Friend, the Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) would be covered by the rules as they now stand, and I do not think that any further extension would be justified.

Mr. Adley

Is my hon. Friend aware that this is an unsatisfactory answer? Many of the preserved steam engines which could be exported are less than 50 years old. What on earth is the objection to taking, this step in these wholly exceptional circumstances where our industrial heritage is threatened?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I have looked into the matter but I have not found any examples, other than the one to which my hon. Friend referred. That occurred before the revision of the rules took place. We must guard against making an unlimited number of special categories which could undermine the whole system.

Mr. Dalyell

Will the Chancellor of the Duchy now answer question No. 24 and tell us when this review will take place?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I have never promised a review as such. The hon. Gentleman was kind enough to elevate my " looking into the matter " to a review. I have looked into the matter, and I am satisfied that the system is working well.

Mr. Dalyell

So there is no review of industrial archaeology?

Mr. Cryer

I declare an interest in that I have five £10 shares in the Keighley and Worth Valley Light Railway Company which is a co-operative enterprise. Has the Chancellor of the Duchy investigated the possibility of lowering the lower limit of £8,000 because there are many items of industrial archaeology, not just steam locomotives, but more mundane items such as carriages, which could be exported as they become more and more scarce as time goes by?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I am aware of the hon. Member's detached interest in this matter. As the lower limit has just been lowered, it would be premature to change it again unless there is some evidence that it is not working satisfactorily. I will keep the matter under continuous review. I congratulate the hon. Member on at last reconciling the capitalist and co-operative systems.