Exports

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11 March 1992.

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Photo of Mr Jacques Arnold Mr Jacques Arnold , Gravesham 12:00, 11 March 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the current performance of British exports.

Photo of Hon. Tim Sainsbury Hon. Tim Sainsbury , Hove

British exports in 1991 were at an all-time record high.

Photo of Mr Jacques Arnold Mr Jacques Arnold , Gravesham

To what does my right hon. Friend attribute that success in the middle of a world recession?

Photo of Hon. Tim Sainsbury Hon. Tim Sainsbury , Hove

My hon. Friend asks a relevant question. British exporters achieved all-time record exports partly because in 1991 we had all-time record low numbers of strikes and days lost through industrial action. That was because we had a sensible framework of industrial relations laws. The success of British industry in exporting last year was also attributable to having the right framework for taxation, which encourages and rewards enterprise on the part of both individuals and companies.

Photo of Mr Edward Leadbitter Mr Edward Leadbitter , Hartlepool

rose—[HoN. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] This may be my last question, Mr. Speaker. Will the Secretary of State respond to a question that I have put several times since the Select Committee on Science and Technology in another place produced its recommendations for the Government? It said that the Government had no policy for industry and no policy for the country, and that if they did not take a new direction there would be no British-owned manufacturing industry left in this country—now answer!

Photo of Hon. Tim Sainsbury Hon. Tim Sainsbury , Hove

The success of British exporters, which apparently does not get one word of congratulation or praise from the Labour party, gives the lie to what the hon. Gentleman has just said.