Factors in Export Promotion By G, V. B. Cooke T HE
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motor industry, which is the third..largest in the -country,. and One of the chief sources relied pn far our post-war exports, is so -bound down by restrictions and_ strangled by taxation, that it, is difficult to retain great hope of competing. very successfully withour great Ally, America,. inthe post-war • years.
The fact must be faced that British industrial ,efficiency generalIThas-not-adv.anced as'it should have done, and for sorne years. prior to this war we gradually lost our plate.as a great ekpottitig totintry_ • On theother hand,"the has been going ahead rapidly in an increasing number of. important industries.
For the post-war years we are promised higher. wage8,better education, increased housing, social security, etc.,' but to obtain these benefits a tremendous effort will be. necessary. One thing that is .certain is that if this country is to remain a first-class commercial power, we must•con
siderably increase our exports. This is understood by everybody, but what the motor. industry cannot understand is. whz the .Chancellor of the Exchequer still insists on taking some £90,000-J100 per annum frOm those who use its 'prOducts. Surely it'inust be obvious to him that a burden such as this cannot continue tube borne if the industry is to .flourish.
In considering the question of exports as a Whole, there are many factors which .must be taken, into account: What is -true of industry in general is true_ of the motor industry in particular, and a complete reorganization of outlook towardsproduction and commerce is essential. A really genuine 'rational Outlook must be _acquired, more thought given to standardization, and much greater. sums spent on research. Leadership, iniprove.d management and closer co-operation withlabour_are essential to, obtain the highest possibla:oatput. per.. man-hour.-, It.0 use saying that wages are higher in America, or that American Cars cost So much per pound less than. ours, without trying to get -down to the causes. High wages can be paid, but they must be earned by -the worker, by his. giving maximum production. Low .wages will nOt solve the problem of' Competition. Unless the British worker be educated, antldielAd to give this maximum .output, then we, have no hope Of producing at anything like conipetitiVe pries the. goods needed ..for export.
Whilst labour must hear a substantial part_ of the blame for low. Output, the major portion must be aMpted by Government and employers. The Government because of the 'heavy taxation of industry, which, in turn, made the employers chary of purchasing new and up-to-date machinery, which would help to increase production. Employers must do more to educate their employees, especially their foremen. A foreman should be very care fully selected for his powers of leadership, and he must be educated to ally himself t0 the management rather than to the workers. A foreman has a responsible position in ' industry, and that fact must be brought home to him.
These remarks are true of every industry, but they are written with special _regard to the motor industry. We' have thaopportunity now of proving to the Government in general, and the Chancellor in particular, that we can help by. finding a large portion of the exports which are so essential. Let our tenor be: You want the best exports, we have them; but we can deliver them to you-only if you free us from the very heavy and unjust burden of taxation which is strangling our industry, It must be educated to realize that a cheap road-transport service . is a national necessity. Cheap and efficient transport will help to reduce production. costs in every industry, trade and occupation, with a considerable ultimate benefit to our exports.
We have the best designers, the best scientists, the .best • craftsmen and, above all, the best workmen. All that areneeded to place our industry on the crest of the wave are common sense,. sympathetic understanding' and getting together." But are the best brains in our industry presenting these problems to the Government?