asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make a statement on the effects, during the six months to the end of January, 1972, since July, 1971, of the Government's financial measures, on the sales of the motor industry overseas, and at home; and what is his estimate of the industry's further prospects.
Exports of cars in the period increased in number and value by 2½ and 11 per cent. respectively compared with a year earlier; commercial vehicle exports rose correspondingly by 7 and 19 per cent. Registrations of cars and commercial vehicles rose by 38 and 12 per cent. respectively on provisional estimates. Demand is expected to remain buoyant in 1972.
While these figures are impressive and good, will my right hon. Friend direct his attention to the paradox that, the better the figures become, the greater unemployment in the West Midlands becomes, which is the hub of the motor industry? Therefore, will my right hon. Friend urge on the Chancellor of the Exchequer the need for further means to reduce that unemployment in his forthcoming Budget?
It is clear that the expansion of the home market and the rising demand abroad give good prospects for exports and, therefore, for absorbing the unemployment to which my hon. Friend refers. No doubt my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will observe my hon. Friend's remarks.