I am satisfied that the British Weeks, of which eight have been held since 1964, have provided a valuable and effective method of promoting British exports. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement of the cost of each of these Weeks. It is difficult to assess the increased trade attributable to a particular British Week, but I am assembling all available information about the results of a number of Weeks, including those of Brussels and Toronto, both of which appear to have been most successful. In the light of this information I shall keep future policy under review.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that, of whatever auxiliary assistance such weeks may be, they are no substitute for the will to sell exports? In what ways does my right hon. Friend hope that a stronger will can be demonstrated following devaluation? For example, has he considered rationalisation of the motor car industry and a concentration on fewer models with adequate after-sales service?
I would certainly agree that British Weeks are in no sense a substitute for the will to export and for the normal sales export effort. As I told the House yesterday, I propose to have early meetings with the C.B.I. and the British National Export Council to see whether there is any more aid that the Government can give.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the highest praise should be given to those industrialists and others who have voluntarily given so much of their time within B.N.E.C. to export promotion? Does he not also agree that the important thing is follow-up and the ability of manufacturers to get their goods through the docks?
I would certainly echo the tribute to the voluntary time given by all businessmen connected with the B.N.E.C. I would strongly agree with the hon. Gentleman that the essential thing is that British Weeks should not be a glamorous once-for-all episode. What really matters is the follow-up effort afterwards. As to the hon. Gentleman's remark about the docks, I must point out that 93 per cent. of the dockers in Britain are working. One must not get that position out of perspective.
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