§ Mr. Kinnock
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what amount was spent last year by his Department in setting up exhibitions abroad; and what proportion of the contracts were awarded to British firms.
§ Mr. Meacher
In the financial year 1977–78 total expenditure by the British Overseas Trade Board on construction and allied display work at exhibitions abroad was £5.7 million of which an estimated £2.0 million—35 per cent.—went to United Kingdom firms. This proportion should be seen in context whereby some 40 per cent. of BOTB fairs activity is in markets such as the Far East, Australasia, North and South America, where because of the sheer distances involved it is unrealistic to expect 969W United Kingdom firms to compete with local companies.