§ 52. Mr. Langford-Holt
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement on the future of the British Industries Fair.
Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend's Exhibition Advisory Committee has now made a Report which will be published shortly as a White Paper. Her Majesty's Government have accepted the recommendations of the Committee that industry should take an even more direct interest in the running of the London Section of the British Industries Fair, and that, therefore, responsibility for it should be transferred to a new non-profit making company limited by guarantee. The board of the company will be persons nominated by trustees representative of industry, including, I hope, the Trades Union Congress and a Government nominee. The Government will assist the company by guaranteeing the initial working capital for a period of five years. The 1954 Fair will be run by the Board of Trade in the usual close collaboration with industry and the 1955 Fair will be run by the new company. Legislation will be needed and a Bill will be introduced in due course.
§ Mr. Langford-Holt
Can my right hon. Friend say what will be the position in regard to the Birmingham Section and, secondly, what arrangements are being made for overseas publicity?
The Birmingham Section will continue to be run as now, by the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, in addition, will have a nominee on the board of the new company. As to the question of overseas publicity expenditure, the Government have accepted, as a temporary measure, the recommendation that they should continue to provide money for this purpose, although the amount will not necessarily be to the full extent of £100,000 a year, which is recommended.
§ Mr. Bottomley
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the British Industries Fair, London Section, has been run by the Board of Trade with continuing success since 1915 and it is a very serious matter to suggest a change? Am I correct in saying that a Committee under Sir Ernest Goodale considered the matter? Can the right hon. Gentleman say when we are to have a report from that Committee?
I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman that this is an important matter. I expect he is aware that over the last year or two there have been growing difficulties in maintaining the impetus of the London Section of the B.I.F. We believe this change will give the London Section a better chance for the future. I ask the right hon. Member to await the White Paper and, if he is not happy after reading it, if he cares to have a talk with me I promise him that we shall attach weight to his views in view of his experience at the Board of Trade.
§ Sir H. Williams
When my right hon. Friend uses the term "non-profit making" does he mean "non-profit distributing," because it is very desirable that a profit should be made?
§ Sir W. Darling
Will these arrangements take into account the Glasgow Exhibition being run by the Scottish Council for Development in Industry and not prejudice this activity?
§ Mr. K. Thompson
Will my right hon. Friend ensure that the interests of smaller manufacturers are properly looked after by having as a representative on this governing body a nominee of the National Union of Manufacturers to represent smaller manufacturers?