asked the Minister of Supply what value of telephone exchange equipment was exported to hard and soft currency countries, respectively, in 1948; and what proportion of our total production did this represent.
Exports of telephone exchange equipment are not recorded separately. The figures for telephone apparatus of all kinds are: hard currency markets, £1,130,000; sterling area, £7,250,000; other countries, £3,630,000. These exports represent slightly more than half the total United Kingdom production in 1948.
In view of the comparatively trivial amount of benefit which is to be gained from these exports will not the hon. Gentleman divert supplies to the home market, which is urgently in need of them?
I do not agree that these amounts are trivial. Together they amount to about £12 million, which is substantial, but in view of the increased production of telephone apparatus there will be more for the home market this year.
Is the Minister aware that advertisements in telephone kiosks suggest to the public that 66 per cent of this equipment is being exported?
No, I am not aware of that. That is a question which should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General. It depends on what type of equipment is being considered.
Surely the public should not be misguided like this. They wonder why they cannot get this equipment and they are told it is for export; 66 per cent., when the Minister's figures are not as much as that.