§ 4.12 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, with permission I should like to repeat a Statement which my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has just made in another place about The Queen's Awards to Industry. The Prime Minister's words were as follows:—
§ "The House will recall that on the 4th February I announced the setting up of a Committee, under the Chairmanship of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to work out a scheme for making Awards by Her Majesty The Queen to industrial units for outstanding achievement in increasing exports or in technological innovation.
§ The Committee's report will be published and copies available in the Vote Office this afternoon.
§ The Committee's recommendations are accepted by the Government in full. I would like on behalf of the Government, and I am sure of the whole House, to thank His Royal Highness and the members of his Committee for undertaking this task and for their admirable report.
§ The Award is to be known as 'The Queen's Award to Industry ', and Her Majesty has graciously consented to the Awards' being announced each year on Her birthday. The first Awards will therefore be announced on the 21st April, 1966. The Committee recommend that there should be a single Award to mark industrial efficiency within the fields of export and technological achievement. The criteria for the Award are listed in the report. Any branch of industry, including agriculture and horticulture, will be entitled to apply.
§ The Award is to be represented by an emblem which holders will be entitled to display in a wide variety of ways.
§ I shall be responsible for advising Her Majesty on Awards. In this, as the report recommends, I shall be assisted by a small Committee composed of members from both within and outside the Government service which will draw upon advice from outside its membership as necessary.153
§ The purpose of this new scheme is twofold: to reward and to stimulate. I hope that the Award will encourage industry in its efforts to achieve the improvements in exports and the technological advance on which our national future so much depends."
§ My Lords, that concludes the Statement of the Prime Minister.
§ LORD ERROLL OF HALE
My Lords, may I thank the noble Earl for so kindly reading out the Statement which has just been made in another place. I am sure that noble Lords in all parts of the House will wish to join with me in expressing our pleasure that Her Majesty has so graciously consented to the Awards' being announced each year on Her birthday. We should like to echo what the noble Earl has said about what His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, has done by being Chairman of this Committee, contributing from his own expert information and knowledge about industry and technological advance to the successful outcome of the work of this Committee.
I have only had a short while in which to look at the report, but that enables me to ask three questions which I hope the noble Earl will be able to answer. First of all, what is an "industrial unit" in this context? Is it to be the main company or an operating subsidiary, and are industrial units in this country which are owned by foreign companies eligible to apply? Secondly, who does the applying? Late in the Statement we were told:Any branch of industry, including agriculture and horticulture, will be entitled to apply.Does this mean that only trade associations and collective bodies are to apply, or does it mean the individual units in a particular industry? Thirdly, and finally, it was said in the Statement:The award is to be represented by an emblem which holders will be entitled to display …Will this emblem be displayed in perpetuity or will it be for a limited term of years? Also, what happens when the holder of an emblem merges with another firm which is not the holder of an emblem, or is taken over by a firm not itself the holder of one of these coveted emblems?
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, in the short space of time available to him, the noble Lord seems to have been able to ask a number of questions which I may or may not be able to answer in the short space of time available to me. So I will do the best I can. A "unit" means any body or group from an individual upwards. In other words, an individual, a one-man business, can count as a unit if it breaks into the export market or, no doubt, shows technological advance. Then the noble Lord asked whether a trade association or the individual unit would have to apply. I understand that it is the individual unit. Finally, the noble Lord asked how long one would be allowed to display the emblem, and my understanding there is that it will be for a period of years. As to what happens if the unit is taken over in the meanwhile, I am afraid that the noble Lord will have to put down a Question and then I will give him the Answer.
§ LORD BYERS
My Lords, may I, on behalf of my colleagues, welcome the Statement which has been made by the Government? May I ask the noble Earl whether, in view of the urgency of improving our efficiency and our exports, consideration has been given to making these Awards twice a year instead of annually?
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I cannot say whether that matter has been considered. I think that the decision to make the Awards on Her Majesty's birthday must be regarded as definite, and it would surprise me if the Committee had not considered the question of making them more often. But since the noble Lord has raised the matter, it can, of course, be brought to their attention.