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Exports (Nationalised Industries)

Volume 462: debated on Tuesday 1 March 1949

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asked the President of the Board of Trade what percentage of the value of United Kingdom exports in 1948 was contributed by the nationalised industries; and what percentage by private enterprise.

The contribution of the nationalised industries to United Kingdom exports is mainly an indirect one, which cannot be measured statistically. The coal industry, the only direct exporting industry which has been nationalised, accounted for 2½ per cent. of total United Kingdom exports in 1948, in addition to its indirect contribution.

Is it not clear that the success of the export campaign is, at any rate, due to private enterprise?

It is quite clear that without the contribution of the nationalised industries there would have been no production and, therefore, no exports at all.

Does the hon. Gentleman really believe that there was no production before electricity or gas or the railways were nationalised, and was it not a fact that production was just as great and rather cheaper?

I did not imply anything of the kind. The Question put to me asked what was the contribution of the nationalised industries, and that I have answered.

Is it not the case that the Reid Report made it clear that the mining industry was going bankrupt and would have been incapable of supporting the export trade?

Is it not a fact that the contribution of the coalmining industry to our exports before the war was higher in total volume and also higher as a percentage of our total exports?