asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the total value of the export of British-made hovercraft in 1974; and how this compares with the previous three years.
The figures, which are published, show exports for civil purposes valued at £1·5 million fob during January-November 1974, and £2·3 million and £0·9 million respectively for 1972 and 1973. Hovercraft were not separately distinguished in 1971.
Does the Minister agree that those figures show the importance of the British hovercraft industry? What proposals has he for helping the further development of the industry and protecting it from unfair competition from a highly subsidised Russian hydrofoil?
On the first point, aid to British industry is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry. On the second point, a Russian hydrofoil is operating on the Thames and there are allegations that it is being unfairly subsidised. My Department is willing to look at any allegation of dumping in respect of this service on the Thames, and so far no application has been received.