Exemptions and Reliefs

Part of Clause 2 – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1968.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Robert Cooke Mr Robert Cooke , Bristol West 12:00 am, 3rd December 1968

Before the Committee comes to a decision, I should like to join the Financial Secretary in expressing sympathy for small companies. My hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Mr. Michael Shaw) was trying to make their position possible under the existing conditions of squeeze. He particularly mentioned close companies which find it difficult in present circumstances—perhaps at any time—to get finance for expansion.

Without giving away any trade secrets, I would like to raise with the Financial Secretary the case which he has already been sent by a constituent of mine concerning a small family company which has discovered a piece of equipment manufactured abroad but which is manufactured in only two foreign lands, one some way from this country and one in Europe, one of our most deadly European competitors.

The company has managed to get the exclusive franchise in the United States of America, Canada and South Africa for this foreign machine, which it wishes to export to those countries. Indeed, the potential export to the United States is, on reasonable estimates, something like 110 million dollars. That is something not to be sniffed at if we can grasp the opportunity.

My constituent assures me, however, that because of the import deposit on his trade in similar machinery, he will have to find between £50,000 and £60,000 to put down as deposit. This, he say, he simply cannot afford. It will result in the cancellation of all his plans and arrangements for the United States of America and South Africa, and he is quite certain that the whole of the trade which he had hoped to make with those countries—export trade, earning dollars for Britain—must be abandoned, and our European competitor will seize the opportunity.

1.30 a.m.

I know that I must not go into too much detail, but the Amendment is aimed at helping the small companies and the Financial Secretary said that he was anxious to help. I have no doubt that he will be out of order in telling me how he proposes to help cases such as the one I raise, but I hope you, Mr. Irving, will allow him to say a few more friendly words to show that he has not closed his mind to finding a way at a later stage of helping companies such as this.