asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry why the funding of the services of the British Overseas Trade Board is being reduced by more than 10 per cent. in real terms in 1986–87; and what effect this will have on exports.
The budget of the British Overseas Trade Board is to remain broadly constant in cash terms at about £27·5 million in 1984–5 and £27·4 million in 1986–7.All aspects of Government policy are naturally subject to public expenditure constraint. But I am confident this will not seriously affect British export activity. It is essential to ensure that the funds provided are being used most effectively. I believe that the changes now made by the BOTB will do this, helping newcomers into overseas markets, and that the assistance will be of particular help to smaller and medium sized firms.