§ 3.52 p.m.
§ LORD RHODES
My Lords, I should to like to repeat a Statement which has been made by my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade in another place. It reads as follows:
"The British National Export Council was established for an initial period of three years in 1964 as a partnership between industry and Government for the purposes of stimulating the growth of our exports, and of bringing together under one central organisation the bodies concerned with the promotion of British exports to various parts of the world. The Council was sponsored by the Federation of British Industries and the National Association of British Manufacturers (now merged in the Confederation of British Industry), the City of London, the Association of British Chambers of Commerce and the Trades Union Congress. Its activities have been financed by funds raised from industry, business and commerce, matched by a contribution from the Government.
"It has been represented to Her Majesty's Government that there would for practical reasons be advantage in deciding now whether the Council should continue in being after the expiry of the three-year period. The sponsoring organisations have all expressed a strong wish that it should continue, and this wish the Government fully share. The Government attach the highest importance to the work which the Council has so successfully begun, and believe that there will be ample scope for promotion effort of this kind for many years to come. I have therefore informed Lord McFadzean, under whose energetic leadership the Council has made so much progress, that the Government strongly endorse the need for the Council to continue its work after the end of the three-year period, and intend to continue financial support for its activities on the 1831 present basis of matching the contribution of industry, business and commerce. I have also asked Lord McFadzean to convey to all members of the Council and of its Committees the Government's high appreciation of the time and energy which they voluntarily give to this vital work in support of our export trade."
§ LORD ERROLL OF HALE
My Lords, I am sure that noble Lords in all parts of the House would wish me to thank the noble Lord, Lord Rhodes, for having read out this Statement, with which I am sure we can all agree. May I ask the noble Lord two questions. He referred to the Government contribution which, broadly speaking, I understand matches the contributions of industry and commerce. Could he give the House an indication of the present scale of the Government contribution? Secondly, what is to be the future of the various national Committees, covering the different parts of the world, under the B.N.E.C.? Are they to continue in much their present form, or what is their future to be?
§ LORD RHODES
My Lords, in answer to the noble Lord's first question, Her Majesty's Government provide a grant of £333,000 for B.N.E.C.'s own activities to which the matching principle applies. In addition some £160,000 was provided for agreed activities, including the scheme for trade missions and collective market research, which B.N.E.C. administers on behalf of the Government.
With regard to the second question, yes, indeed, the Committees are carrying on. The noble Lord will know which they are; the Committees for the U.S.A., for Canada, for Latin America, for the Middle East, the Far East, and the Committee for Europe are the principal ones. Here I am glad to take the opportunity, having seen something of the work the chairmen and the members of these committees have put in over the last few years, to add my voice to that of my right honourable friend the President of the Board of Trade in thanking these gentlemen for having given of their time and spent the time they have given so well.