HC Deb 25 October 1955 vol 545 cc8-9W
83. Mr. M. Lindsay

asked the President of the Board of Trade, whether his Department will assume responsibility for the success of British display at the most important overseas trade fairs, in view of the national efforts made by other countries, for example, the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, for purposes of national prestige.

Mr. Low

No. The primary purpose of industrial displays at overseas trade fairs is to sell goods. That is a function of industry and not of government. The Board of Trade provides information stands at a number of overseas fairs and, in addition, at selected fairs arranges small exhibits of various kinds to back up the industrial display. In this matter my right hon. Friend has the advice of an Exhibitions Advisory Committee representing industry. The expenditure of public money on overseas trade fairs for purposes of national prestige and not for commercial purposes is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

84. Sir J. Lucas

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that at the recent St. Eric Industrial Fair in the Olympic Stadium, Stockholm, of the 14 countries officially represented, the British exhibit was the smallest, being only 70 square metres, whilst six other countries had between 1,000 and 3,000 square metres; and if he will take steps to encourage a greater British participation on future occasions.

Mr. Low

At St. Erik's Fair this year goods from more than 100 British firms were displayed in the trade sections in which industry generally consider they can show their goods more effectively. The small Board of Trade stand was an information and inquiry centre and not a national exhibit. While the Board of Trade have always encouraged participation in St. Erik's Fair it is not our policy to spend public funds on national prestige exhibits at this Fair.