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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will initiate a survey of the capacity of industries suited to exporting or to manufacturing import substitutes, at present involved in defence and other Government contracts and in projects for statutory undertakers.
No special survey is necessary. The Government have already taken action, and next week will take more, to achieve the necessary shift of resources from home consumption, both public and private, to exports and import substitution. We are also in constant touch with industry, both directly and through the Economic Development Committees, in order to identify in advance any sectors where capacity limitation is likely to become a problem.
While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he would agree that there are considerable human and capital resources in Government enterprises which if fully utilised would result in releasing other private resources for exports and import substitution?
The difficulty is to identify the Government industries, Government factories and so on that my hon. Friend has in mind where there is such unused capacity which could be used for the purpose that he has put forward.
Mr. Gresham Cooke:
Is it not amazing that the Government have no special survey on import substitution? Is this not the most important subject facing the Government now, with imports reaching £500 million and above last year? Do not Questions Nos. 14 and 15 and this Question highlight the importance of this?