HC Deb 12 July 1955 vol 543 cc153-4W
22. Mr. Sorensen

asked the President of the Board of Trade to state the approximate loss in trade arising from recent strikes; to what extent overseas orders have been definitely lost; to what extent congestion of unladen or undischarged freights is now being reduced; and how far the docks have now returned to normal activity.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The provisional figure for exports in June amounts to only £157 million compared with an average of £247 million for April and May. While, of course, it is not possible to say that the whole of this difference of £90 million was due to the dock and rail strikes, and while we may hope that a large part of this loss will be made up in coming months, I should be deluding the House if I did not make it clear that the dislocation of our export trade resulting from such stoppages, and the difficulties caused in export markets, are matters of serious concern. I understand that the ports affected by the dock strike have made good progress in overcoming the immediate dislocation and delay to shipping, although it may be some time before the effects of the strike cease to be felt. Questions requiring more detailed information on this point should, however, be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation.