European Economic Community

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th February 1972.

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Photo of Mr John Hannam Mr John Hannam , Exeter 12:00 am, 28th February 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will examine the effects on small firms of entry into the European Economic Community.

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

The Bolton Committee recommended that we should study the effect of entry upon small firms in order to help them take advantage of the opportunities in the E.E.C. This study is well under way and we expect to decide by summer whether special steps are needed to supplement the comprehensive campaign which we have already launched. We have much information available for those who seek it.

Photo of Mr John Hannam Mr John Hannam , Exeter

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that small firms in Europe have benefited considerably since the E.E.C. has been in being? Will he make a real effort to ensure that these facts are well known in Britain, so as to reassure and allay the fears of our small businesses once we follow suit and go into the Common Market?

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

Yes, there is plenty of evidence to support what my hon. Friend says. For example, figures quoted by the C.B.I. show that in Western Germany between 1960 and 1967 small firms' sales rose by 50 per cent. while those of industry as a whole rose by only 40 per cent.