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Trade And Commerce

Volume 363: debated on Tuesday 30 July 1940

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Industrial Art And Design

5.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will refuse to sanction the articles of association of the Central Institute of Art and Design and not allow it to function, pending consultation with all interests who are interested in any form; whether he is satisfied that the governing body responsible for the administration of the National Register of Industrial Art Designers is fully efficient; and whether he will review the whole question in the light of future needs?

The Board of Trade have entertained an application made by the association under Section 18 of the Companies Act, 1929, to be registered, with the licence of the Board of Trade, as a company with limited liability, but without the addition of the word "Limited" to its name. In accordance with the usual procedure, an application so entertained has to be advertised in two successive weeks. Any objections which may be raised to the grant of the Board's licence are considered before the licence is granted, and if the hon. Member will forward to me a statement of the objections on which his Question is based, I will see that they are fully considered. I have no reason to think that the governing body of the National Register of Industrial Art Designers is in any way inadequate, nor have I received representations on this subject.

I do not propose to take this matter any further, at this stage, Mr. Speaker, if the right hon. Gentleman undertakes to hold up the articles of association, pending further representations being made.

Coal Exports

10.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has any statement to make on the reduction in exports due to the loss of French and Italian markets; and whether he has any plans for the creation of new markets to make up the deficiency?

Coal was by far the largest item of our exports both to France and Italy. Since the war, the total volume of all exports to France had much increased, and considerable changes also took place in the make-up of the trade, owing to France's situation and war needs: In this period, indeed, our exports were made more to assist our Ally in the struggle against the common enemy than for commercial reasons, and the loss of the French market must not therefore be regarded as comparable in its effects with the loss of a neutral market taking a similar amount of exports. A considerable proportion of the goods exported to France would have been very valuable to our own war effort. Every effort is being made to find other markets for those goods which do not fall into this category. Of these, coal is much the most important and, as my hon. Friend the Secretary for Mines stated in reply to a Question on 23rd July, the coal industry is being consulted as to the best methods to promote this trade.

Do we understand from the answer of the right hon. Gentleman that the loss of the French market is of little consequence, despite the fact that we exported coal and other commodities which are of primary importance; and can he rely entirely on the good will and the efforts of the coal industry in regard to facilities in the search for new markets?

I have not said, and I hope I have not implied, that the loss of the French market is of little consequence.

Are we to understand from the right hon. Gentleman that the export of goods to France meant very little to us in war-time?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, despite the appeal that people should store coal or coke, it is impossible in many parts of England to get coal or coke, and that this is a source of purchase which is available?

I hope I did make it clear that our export trade to France for the last few months consisted in part of many things which would have been welcome at home, and that the loss of the market of France in those products is not really a loss to us at all. On the other hand, for the other part, which we would gladly export to France, it will be our task to find an alternative market.

Bank Holiday (Cancellation)

9.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether it is the desire of the Government that business establishments throughout the country should remain open on Monday, 5th August, particularly having regard to the difficulties which may otherwise result in the reception of goods?

Yes, Sir. August Bank Holiday has been cancelled by Defence Regulations, and it is the wish of the Government that business should proceed normally on that day. I would add that, on any day on which it may be found necessary to close establishments for repair or cleaning or other reasons, it is desirable, in the national interest, that arrangements should be made for the reception of goods, in order to avoid both wastage of labour, time and fuel, and also to avoid delays in the clearance of traffic.