The chips were once used only in high end electronic products but are now vital for everything from cars, aircraft and smartphones to lightbulbs, appliances and radiator valves.
The current shortage has been put down to a spike in global demand as economies come out of the pandemic, an over-reliance on Chinese manufacturing, and factories having stopped production for periods to manage outbreaks.
Speaking in International Trade Questions Mr Higginbotham asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Mike Freer MP what was being done to help small and medium sized businesses who are struggling to acquire this vital component.
He said: “The Government will be aware of the global shortage of semi-conductor chips, and the impact of that is being felt far more by SMEs than it is the largest companies who can make very large purchases years in advance.
"Could I ask what support the Government is taking to support those SMEs in importing semiconductors so they can keep operating.”
Responding, Mike Freer said: “My right honourable friend raises a vital point in a global economy. The UK is carrying out a review of our international and domestic approach to semiconductor supply chains. DCMS is leading this review supported by DIT.
"We also support growth in the UK semiconductor sector by driving investment, for example by promoting the world leading compound semiconductor cluster in south wales as part of a high potential opportunity programme.”
Speaking after the debate Antony said: “Many of our local SMEs are now incredibly reliant on imports of these small but vital chips. Raising it in the chamber means the Government is now aware of that and I’ll be carrying on this discussion with them to ensure progress is made.
I was also pleased to hear a review is taking place at the supply chains for them, and hope this will lead to a focus on developing a robust sovereign capability.”