Some 260 officers regularly visit firms to assist them on exports, export credits and industrial location. A similar number visit firms in the enforcement of legislation for which the Board of Trade is responsible; and a further 500 visit ships, docks and warehouses on matters concerning the safety and welfare of vessels and ships' crews.
Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the best ways of finding out what is happening in industry is to visit firms themselves and that consultations at the Board of Trade are not an adequate alternative? Will he agree that as the work in his Department increases he should make sure that his officers spend more of their time seeing what is happening on the spot and making the required recommendations?
I think that the service we have at the Board of Trade from these regular visits is very satisfactory. If any further improvements in this service are needed we shall certainly make arrangements for the improvements to take place.
In view of the excellent work carried out by these men and the hard day's work they put in, will the hon. Gentleman ensure that they are still given a good lunch by the firms they visit?