HL Deb 26 June 1956 vol 198 cc7-8

My Lords, this Order is subject to Affirmative Resolution in your Lordships' House and in another place where it will be considered to-morrow. It revokes the Lace Furnishings Industry (Export Promotion Levy) Order, 1951, and was made under the Industrial Organisation and Development Act, 1947. The levy was imposed in 1951 for five years. Its object was to raise about £15,000 annually for export promotion purposes through the instrument of a special company set up by the industry itself.

It is proposed to revoke the Order because the industry now considers that the co-operative export campaign undertaken by the industry as a whole has been ineffective. The publicity campaigns have unfortunately not proved fruitful, largely because of adverse world conditions over which the industry had no control. This state of affairs is confirmed by our Trade Commissioners in Canada and Australia, which are two of the industry's biggest markets and countries where the campaigns have been continued. The Trade Commissioners also feel that if they continued or increased expenditure along the existing lines it would be only a waste of money.

Individual firms in the industry will of course continue with their own efforts to promote exports. Indeed the industry already has a fine export record of at least one-third of its total production. The trade unions have been consulted. The Scottish union stated that since they do not contribute to the Levy, the best they can do is to remain neutral. The English union suggested that the existing Levy is far too small to have any appreciable effect and that it should either be dropped altogether or, with the aid of public funds, be increased tremendously. For reasons which I have already indicated, the Government have decided that this would not be a useful course and have accordingly come to the conclusion that they must accede to the request of the industry that the Order of 1951 should be revoked. I hope your Lordships will agree this course is the correct one and I beg to move accordingly.

Moved, That the Lace Furnishings Industry (Export Promotion Levy) (Revocation) Order, 1956, reported from the Special Orders Committee on the 13th of June, be approved.—(Lord Mancroft.)

2.49 p.m.


My Lords, I regret the necessity for this Motion, but, as I have no information that would allow me to contradict the facts as stated by the noble Lord, I cannot say very much. I am surprised that the union side want this levy discontinued. I think it has had a good effect. As the noble Lord has said, the lace industry has not been laggard in its export efforts, and with the great necessity for exports to-day I should have thought that this would have been a useful thing to keep on, however small the amount. However, in face of the information that the noble Lord has given the House, I cannot oppose the Order; I can only acquiesce with considerable regret.

On Question, Motion agreed to.