Manufactures (Supplies)

Oral Answers to Questions — Economic Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th February 1965.

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Photo of Mr Charles Morrison Mr Charles Morrison , Devizes 12:00 am, 18th February 1965

asked the First Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs how he proposes to encourage British industry to supply those manufactures which swell the import bill in time of expansion.

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

Through action designed to stimulate greater efficiency and competitiveness throughout British industry and to improve the standard of design and technological innovation.

Photo of Mr Charles Morrison Mr Charles Morrison , Devizes

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that the only step that has been taken so far is the negative action of imposing the surcharge? Is it not time that some proper stimulus was given to British manufacturers to decrease the need for imports?

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

The hon. Gentleman seems to have forgotten that we have provided a rebate for exporters as well, in addition to many other measures taken to encourage exports.

Photo of Mr James Tinn Mr James Tinn , Cleveland

Will my hon. Friend not be discouraged by the failure of hon. Gentlemen opposite to give due credit for the improvement which has been achieved in our economic position by the Government's action?

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

There are considerable signs that this improvement is taking place.

Photo of Sir Rolf Williams Sir Rolf Williams , Exeter

Does the hon. Gentleman recognise that the only way in which manufactures from abroad can be manufactured in this country is for us to be competitive, and that everything that he and his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has done since they got into office has been to inflate costs? Does he appreciate that we must not continue with our present high rate of taxation if we are to be competitive with people from abroad?

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

The 15 per cent. surcharge certainly gave a breathing space to industry in which to become more competitive, and it is about time that some of them did so.