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British Exhibition, Stockholm

Volume 655: debated on Thursday 15 March 1962

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asked the President of the Board of Trade how many firms from Great Britain are going to exhibit their products at the British Exhibition at Stockholm in May; and how many of these firms are from Scotland.

The British Exhibition in Stockholm is not organised by the Board of Trade but by British Overseas Fairs Limited. I am informed by it that there will be about 520 exhibitors, of whom 16 give their address as in Scotland.

Is it not very disappointing that there should be only 16 out of 520 exhibitors, especially in view of the high rate of unemployment in Scotland? Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that Scottish firms were sufficiently informed that this exhibition was taking place? Is he aware that the Scottish Council for the Development of Industry has stated that it was not asked on any occasion to use its offices to bring this exhibition to the notice of Scottish firms?

If Scottish firms had exhibited in the same proportion as English firms there would have been about 50 exhibitors. As for the use of the facilities offered by the bodies mentioned in my hon. Friend's supplementary question, the responsibility for organising this fair lies with British Overseas Fairs Limited.

In view of this remarkable lack of enterprise by private enterprise in Scotland, will the Minister consult his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland? If this sector of industry fails to provide employment for Scottish people the responsibility will have to be accepted to an increasing extent by public enterprise and the Government.