§ As amended (in the Standing Committee) considered.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ Major SALMON
It is always refreshing to find in the House of Commons a subject on which harmony reigns, as in the case of this Bill. The Bill empowers local authorities to contribute up to a ¼d. rate to a central organisation approved by the Minister of Health, as far as England and Wales are concerned, and by the Secretary of State for Scotland, as far as Scotland is concerned, which is established to collect information with regard to the historic, scenic, recreational, or climatic amenities and attractions of the British Isles and for the dissemination of such information abroad—in other words, for the purpose of national publicity.
A suitable organisation is already in existence, namely, the Travel Association of Great Britain and Ireland. This organisation was started some few years ago through the efforts of the then Minister for Overseas Trade, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chorley (Mr. Hacking). It is being carried on under the auspices of the present Minister for Overseas Trade, and I am pleased to say that His Majesty's Government are continuing to support it by the small annual grant that they make to the organisation. It is to be hoped that, since this organisation has done such splendid work in advertising this country throughout the world, the Government will see their way to increase their grant.
The Travel Association has been helped abroad by our consuls and trade commissioners, and the Lord Privy Seal, in conjunction with other Government Departments, is considering representations regarding the smoothing out of certain difficulties for visitors. Some have already been dealt with, and others are under the consideration of various 1908 departments. While the railways, shipping companies, and restaurants have supported this Association, local authorities have hitherto been precluded from doing so, and this Bill will enable them to contribute. The work of the Travel Association has increased very greatly, and offices have been opened in New York and Buenos Ayres, and, latterly, in Paris; and it may be mentioned, with regard to the number of visitors from the United States, that, although we have passed through a very unfortunate year, some 4,500 more tourists have come to this country from the United States of America. That was an encouragement to open offices in France, which has now been done, and will, I hope, be successful in organising the activities in regard to getting visitors to come to this country.
The Bill has the support of the Municipal Corporations Association and the Urban District Councils Association, and it will be noted that the sanction of the Minister is required before any new organisation can be set up. That is for the purpose of ensuring that the ratepayers' money shall be spent to the best advantage. In these days, when economy is so necessary, it is important that when money is being spent, whether by the national or by the local authorities, it should be spent on revenue-producing schemes, and in this connection I suggest that the benefit to be derived by industry and commerce from the tourist traffic is of very great importance. The Lord Privy Seal said a few weeks ago that the tourist traffic is fraught with economic importance, and he pointed out that it employed some 350,000 people—more than any of our big basic industries; and it must be remembered that when foreign visitors come here on holiday they come prepared to spend money.
This is the first attempt that has been made in the direction of what may be called co-operative national publicity. In these modern days, I think, industry realises the importance of propaganda, and, speaking as one who has had some little experience in that connection, I may say that in the last few years the firm with which I am connected has spent many millions of pounds under this head, while our friends and neighbours on the Continent of Europe realise the value of publicity so much that within a few 1909 hundred yards of this House will be found offices representing all the large countries abroad — France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and so on—which are prepared to give all information in regard to the beauties of their respective countries, and the reasons why people should visit them. On the other hand, visitors, say, from Germany or from Vienna, who desired information about this country and tried to find an office where it could be obtained, were unable to do so until the Travel Association was started.
It is a fact that the French people derive an enormous income from their tourist traffic. Figures have been given showing that they receive a revenue of something like £100,000,000 under this head, and, when one thinks of the amenities that we have to offer to visitors to this country, one often sees articles advertised that have not the merits that we can describe in advertising this great country of ours abroad. What other country can offer greater attractions than the sands of the Isle of Thanet, the historic towns of Oxford and Cambridge, our wonderful cathedral towns, our beautiful rural scenery, our magnificent roads, and the wonderful scenery of Scotland, Wales and Ireland? One could give a long catalogue of the beauties and attractions that we have in this country. We have much to be proud of, but in the past we have rather fallen into the habit of decrying ourselves instead of boosting ourselves, and I think it is time that we realised that we have an enormous asset in the beautiful country in which we have the honour of living. After all, you cannot find more beautiful women than you can in this country, and some people even say that you could not have a better government than we have in this country; but seriously, I suggest that this Bill, when it is passed, will do an enormous amount of good for the future of this country. A review was being made the other day by an important weekly business paper in New York of the Travel Association's Publication, and I should like to read two lines. It commences:Is England down-hearted? No.1910 It continues:This little pamphlet arouses wanderlust, but its cheerfullest inspiration is its picture of the teeming life of the Britsh Isles and their spirit of unabated activity.This Bill will assist that very valuable kind of publicity work. I should like to express not only my personal thanks, but those of the Travel Association for the very great help that we have had from all sides of the House in getting the Bill as far as it has reached. I am very grateful to the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies), who seconded the Second Reading, and also to the Minister of Health and the Parliamentary Secretary and to the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department. If the local authorities would only take advantage of this small but important Bill, I believe we should see in the near future very great possibilities arising from it.
Am I not right in saying that in Committee we altered the word "climatic" and substituted another word for it? I find the word "climatic" in my paper still.
§ Major SALMON
The hon. Member is perfectly right. I understand that, with the slight alterations that were made in Committee, it was not considered necessary to reprint the Bill. When it passes, both Amendments will be in.
§ Mr. GRAHAM WHITE
I should like to say a few words in support of the Bill, and I hope it will pass through its remaining stages as quickly as possible in order that those municipalties that are minded to avail themselves of the opportunities that it provides may take action before the summer season has passed, when the majority of visitors are likely to wish to visit this country. I should like to pay a small tribute to the work that has already been done by the Travel Association. It would hardly be accurate to say that a body that exists for the purpose of advertising has done its work unostentatiously, but it has already with quiet and impressive efficiency done a very valuable amount of work. It is now possible for a prospective visitor to the British Isles, before he sets sail from his own shores, to know for every day of the year exactly what he may expect to find in the way of functions of one sort or another, whether his aspirations and inclinations are towards art, commerce, 1911 music, or whatever field may tempt him. There is accurate information for every day of the year with regard to every sphere of human activities; in fact, probably for everything except the weather itself. The fact that this information is already available overseas may well be a determining factor in deciding whether people may come to this country or perhaps go somewhere else.
There is, however, one thought with regard to the Bill which I think is worthy of passing reflection, and that is in connection with the collection of information with regard to commerce. There are already in existence bodies that are doing this work. There is, or example, on the Merseyside the Liverpool Organisation, which has already done some very valuable work in collecting commercial information and spreading it overseas. There was, for instance, the preparation of a film depicting such scenes as the launching of a ship from the Merseyside, which has been exhibited all over South America and elsewhere—a very valuable piece of work. There is also the widespread operation of the Marketing Board. We must not forget, on the question of collecting and collating commercial information, that the Department of Overseas Trade has already accomplished a very great work and amassed a great volume of information and statistics, and, when we are passing legislation of this kind, the last thing we wish to do, especially in these days when one has to scrutinise expenditure so carefully, is to bring about any duplication either of effort or, still less, of expenditure. It might have been an improvement had there been a, short explanatory Clause in the Bill drawing the attention of those who may wish to avail themselves of its facilities to the fact that it was not their intention to compete with the Empire Marketing Board, the Department of Overseas Trade or other organisations, but rather to co-operate with them. I should have gone so far, even at this stage, as to suggest that it might have been possible in another place to introduce such a Clause, but I am impressed with the importance of getting the Bill on to the Statute Book at the earliest possible moment, and I will not seek to press that point if it is going in any way to delay the passage of the Bill. I support it most heartily.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I wish to join with the two hon. Members who have spoken in giving what I feel sure will be a final blessing to this Measure. It is a very happy thing indeed to see the House of Commons, for once in a way, in complete harmony. I was delighted to hear the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has done so much for the Measure saying that it was based more or less on co-operative principles. I have supported it mainly because of that fact. It has all the essence of Socialism in its provisions. At any rate, it gives local authorities a power which I think they ought to have had for a long time. I was attracted towards the Bill because of what I have seen abroad. I have seen Germany advertised in Switzerland, Switzerland end Germany advertised in Italy, and Italy, France, Switzerland and Germany advertised in New York, but I very seldom see anything at all in the way of advertisement about Great Britain except what our railways are doing, although I saw in Berlin the other day evidence of the good work of the Travel Association in that great city. I feel sure that the Bill is necessary. We ought, before we pass it through its final stages, to make it quite clear that there is nothing compulsory about it. It simply gives the local authorities power to levy a rate of not more than ¼d. in the pound, and, even when a local authority has imposed that rate, it is not compelled to send a quota to the central organisation. Even that act on its part is purely voluntary.
Some local authorities advertise already within this country, and I think they do a little as well in foreign lands but only for commercial purposes. The value of this Bill will be in the fact that the whole of the money will be collected in this country to do publicity work abroad on a very much better and more effective scale. There is very little reason why we should not do that. If Blackpool or Brighton alone desired to advertise abroad, the effectiveness of the advertisement would be very small. If all the local authorities in this country joined together through a central organisation to advertise the amenities of this country, it would be a very effective way of dealing with the matter. I am very 1913 pleased that all parties in the House are supporting this Measure. I am a Welshman, and an hon. Gentleman rather offended me this morning by talking of the amenities of England and Scotland without saying anything about Wales, which, by the way, is the most beautiful part of all. But in all sincerity, and although I am a Welshman, I am rather inclined to the view of the poet who said:What should they know of England who only England know?
§ Major GEORGE DAVIES
I suffer from the same national superiority complex as my namesake who has just addressed the House, and I do not wish to appear to be opposed to this Measure, which I welcome in common with all other hon. Members, if indeed I cannot go as far as my hon. Friend to suggest, with regard to such a bone of contention, whether the Measure is or is not a step on the road to Socialism in our time. This country, as compared with many others, has been very modest in advertising its general attractions and failing to appreciate in these days that even from an industrial point of view "touristism" is a very important item in our, I might almost say, national finance. If one looks at it purely from a pounds, shillings and pence point of view, the advantage to a country that makes the most of its own natural attractions is very great. Because the general world depression has affected the United States, which has generally been the source of so much revenue to countries on the Continent, it is no reason why we should not, at a time like this, welcome the provisions of this Measure.
There is a caution which I should like to give upon a point which was touched upon by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. R. Davies). Clause 1 of the Bill provides that local authorities may contribute to any organisation established for disseminating information, and no provision is made to prevent it from becoming an extremely localised matter. It is a possibility which local authorities should bear in mind. I think we should all be at one in advertising the come-to-Britain movement and the attractions of the country, but if we are going to find a local authority, a borough municipality, setting up an organisation particularly to draw attention to its own immediate advantages as compared with 1914 others, whether in this country or abroad, we are coming down to decentralisation and a waste of money. I have an episode in mind which rather emphasises this fact. A friend of mine from my division happened to be in Bournemouth and he wanted to buy a certain article. He walked into a shop where he saw a big card in the window, "Why not buy it in your own home town?", and he said to himself, "By jove, I will." He went back to his own home town of Yeovil and bought the article there. That advertisement was meant to apply to the people of Bournemouth. If this Measure were to be interpreted in such a narrow way as that, we should fail to achieve the object which is desired.
There is one respect, however, in which I would advocate a somewhat wider interpretation. The United States of America has already been mentioned by other speakers. I remember some years ago when I was living in those parts that there was a big movement advertising, "See America first," America of course being indicated in the rather narrow sense of the United States. The object, naturally, was to induce people in the United States who had saved up money to spend upon a sight-seeing holiday to see the great natural and unnatural wonders of that country first before they came and spent their well gotten gains either in Switzerland, or, even, in Wales. This is quite true with regard to this country. It is an extraordinary fact that a large number or people who do not know their own land go abroad to certain parts of the Continent and to other parts of the world which are more adequately advertised and which have their attraction because they are not immediately under their own noses.
I remember once making up my mind to tour England, unknown England to me, as an American tourist, with a Baedeker and a strong bag in my hands. I had a very amusing experience, but I saw many things which ought to he very intimate to anyone who can travel in these islands which I had never seen before and should not have seen if I had not made up my mind to make that tour. If these organisations would disseminate information not only outside the British Isles, but at home and urge people to see their own country first, I believe the 1915 Measure would have additional utility. These are the only comments I wish to make, one the warning lest this Measure should be interpreted in too narrow a sense in regard to municipal and similar local authorities, and the other that it might be widened in order to advertise the charms of these islands, not only in foreign countries, but amongst our own people at home.
§ Mr. HOLFORD KNIGHT
The power to be put upon local authorities is one which enlightened and enterprising authorities will gladly exercise. At present, if expenditure is incurred, it is questionable whether, if it were put before the auditor, it could be passed. Therefore, the Measure enables local authorities to incur expenditure for this purpose, and I desire to join in congratulating the promoters of the Bill upon the facilities they are providing for enlightened local authorities. It was Dr. Johnson who said that the fairest prospect in Scotland was the road to England. I sometimes wonder whether any Scotsmen reflect that the fairest prospect in England is the road to Scotland. I notice that they hesitate to act upon that view, but there is a desire in England sometimes, in view of the overflowing and the abounding activities of some Scotsmen that they should consider taking this fair prospect of Scotland from England.
I am certain that the opportunity provided by this Measure will be taken by the particular locality I have the privilege of representing. Nottingham is a beautiful place, crowded with historical associations closely connected with the history of this land, with beautiful surroundings which are extensively visited. I am certain that the Corporation of Nottingham will gladly play their part in contributing to the fund for advertising abroad the amenities of this great land. I therefore very cordially support the Bill.
§ Mr. CHARLES WILLIAMS
I wish to remind my hon. and gallant Friend and certain other Members of the House that Clause 1 says,Any local authority in Great Britain may contribute to any organisation.That is obviously a slip or a flaw in the Bill. It is clear that you can have any sort of body taking charge of the fund. 1916 I understand that in the Committee stage an Amendment, moved by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Harrow (Major Salmon) was inserted, and the Clause now reads:approved in England and Wales by the Minister of Health and in Scotland by the Secretary of State.That puts this small but important matter on a satisfactory basis. It means that these funds can only be dealt with by associations such as the Travel Association. That puts the Bill on a firm foundation. The words of the Amendment do not appear in the Bill now before us. That is a matter of economy in order to save reprinting but, of course, they will appear in the final print. I rejoice at the economy, but I found it rather difficult to understand the Bill until I ascertained what Amendments had been inserted in Committee.
I welcome the note of harmony in our proceedings to-day. There is nothing more pleasant than to hear Members of the House of Commons patting themselves on the back and saying how much we are going to enjoy the week-end because we have passed a Bill which will help to advertise the country, and help business. The predominant note of the discussion has been that we have not adequately informed the world of thehistorical, scenic, recreational or climaticadvantages of England, Scotland and Wales. My hon. and gallant Friend who moved the Third Reading of the Bill showed his ignorance, if I may use that phrase with politeness, almost colossal ignorance, by omitting to mention the most famous places that are worth visiting in our country. He did not for instance mention the Isle of Man. There is a tendency to mention secondary places so far as beauty and climatic conditions are concerned and to forget the places where you can find the best history, the best climate and all the best of beautiful things, and that is the West Country. That was a grave omission from the hon. and gallant Member's speech. I am sure hon. Members will agree that the West Country does not include a place like Gloucester. Gloucester, Somerset and Dorset are very anxious to call themselves the West Country, but they are not. They get the reflected glory of being associated with the West 1917 Country, but they have not the real glory of places like Torquay.
It is important that we should be able to use funds, which are limited in this Bill to a halfpenny rate, to make the attractions of our country better known on the Continent, in America and throughout the world, so that visitors from abroad may know what they will find when they come over here for a holiday. I notice that we have the Lord Privy Seal on our side. It is said that a certain amount has been done by the railways to help in this campaign. The Great Western Railway have done their level best to advertise the West Country. If all the railways could advertise for one common purpose by means of a unit, and if the advertisement could run, for instance: "If you want the very best, you must come to Devon and Cornwall"; "If you want the second best, come to the rest of England," it would be very useful. We must ask the people to come where they can always get the first class stuff.
I would strongly advise advertising in the British Dominions, because the largest percentage of the population of those countries have originally come from the home country, or their immediate ancestors have come from this country, and they are tremendously disposed, so far as I have talked with them, to learn about this country and to see it. They want to know something about the place, whether in England, Scotland or Wales, from which their people came, and they want to see the place. From the purely revenue point of view that is a source where we are likely to obtain best results. Not only from the monetary point of view, we owe it to these people to make it easy for them to come to this country, bearing in mind that their various travel societies do much for visitors when we go out to the Dominions. I notice that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health is champing at the bit to get in a speech in praise of the Bill. I hope that she will praise it in no lukewarm way. A great deal depends upon launching this Bill with praise. I hope that she will not crab it in the way that she is somewhat apt to do when speaking on Bills. I am not wishing to dishearten her, but I would beg her to go all out in praise of the Bill in every possible way. 1918 I would emphasise the importance of the historical side of the country. We make a mistake in not pointing out adequately our historical associations. In this respect the House is justified in appealing for assistance from the Board of Education. Let us have more historical references to places of note in the country. For instance, there is Brix-ham, where William of Orange landed. There are many historical sides which ought to be more known and on which information might he obtained by our getting into touch with the Board of Education, who would make the details more easily accessible. We do not emphasise enough the historical side. We cannot always emphasise the climatic side. I can well understand that Lancashire does not want to talk about its climate, but we in the West Country always do, because our climate is perfect. If we could introduce a few more historical notes we might attract more people from abroad. Those who know the type of person who comes from America know that vast numbers of them come to look at places of historical interest, apart from the question of beauty.
I remember crossing the Atlantic when there were hundreds of school teachers on board, who declared that there was nothing historical in England and that it was only on the Continent that historical things could be seen. We must disabuse their minds of that idea. Let us show that we have our historical values as well as other values. I need not dwell upon the commercial side of the question, although there is the point that if people stay in a country they are apt to pick up the habits of the people and to use the same things as the inhabitants which all makes for trade and commerce. That is the way in which the great industrial towns of the North will benefit from this Measure. They may not have the scenery but they have the goods, and this Bill will help trade in the North as well as in the South. I do not welcome legislation which puts any burden on the taxpayer but as this is a purely voluntary matter for local authorities, and is a sound measure, I hope it will be passed and that hon. Members opposite will be able to support it.
§ Mr. ALPASS
I desire to support this Bill because its passage will give general satisfaction to the people of my native 1919 city. I think I may claim with all modesty that it possesses all the advantages set out in Clause 1 of the Bill —commercial, historical, scenic, recreational or climatic—and I may add curative.
§ Sir PHILIP PILDITCH
Does the hon. Member put up the claims of Bristol as against those of Plymouth?
§ Mr. ALPASS
I should not have thought that Plymouth would have any chance at all. But this is not a Measure to enable one locality to compete against another so much as to give publicity to the advantages which are possessed by the country generally. We have in Bristol a publicity board which has been carrying on this kind of work voluntarily for some time past, and recently we have had evidence of the benefits which have accrued as a result of its activities. We promoted a French Week, and as a result of making known some of our commercial advantages and activities several firms have been impressed and have intimated that they are shortly establishing works at our docks. The Bristol City Council has long desired to possess the powers which this Bill provides so that the splendid work which the publicity board has been doing for so long on a voluntary basis may be extended and developed. I hope the Measure will have a speedy passage so that in the present season we may be able to take advantage of its provisions.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. LAMBERT-WARD
The hon. and gallant Member for Yeovil (Major G. Davies) expressed the wish that the Bill might be liberally interpreted, and I should like to support him in that plea. At the same time, if we read the Bill carefully there is little doubt that every form of activity which a local authority might desire to undertake is covered—and by "activity" I mean advertisement activity. A glance at the heading of the Bill might give the impression that their activities are somewhat restricted, because the words are "amenities and advantages," but Clause 1 saysamenities and advantages of the British Isles or any part thereof, whether commercial, historical, scenic, recreational or climatic, and for disseminating that information outside the British Isles.That gives a very wide scope to local authorities and practically covers every 1920 form of advertising in which they care to indulge. For some time past local authorities have been advertising the advantages of their particular locality and it is a moot point as to whether the expenditure incurred is legal. There was always a chance, at least so the city corporation of my constituency have informed me, that the auditor might at any moment refuse to allow the expenditure which has been incurred on advertising the commercial amenities of that great business centre. This Bill will remove any risk of that kind, and for that reason I am glad it has been introduced and I sincerely hope it will soon become law.
When the present Government die a violent and well-merited death there is no doubt that there will be a considerable extension of the principle of Safeguarding, which the late Government introduced but which the present Government are dropping. That will mean that there will be a rush of Continental and American firms into this country to manufacture their goods here which they now send in free. The increase of employment will be most marked, as is the case in the electrical industry and in the motor trade. In the past few years half-a-dozen continental firms have come here in order to make tyres, and in the future I have no doubt that many other firms will be anxious to come in in order to manufacture their goods. That will mean a considerable demand for sites in the neighbourhood of our big manufacturing cities and it is only right that these centres should be given power to advertise the commercial facilities they possess; the railway and canal facilities which they enjoy, so that these continental firms will have no difficulty in making up their minds as to the most convenient centre for their new works. I hope the Bill will be acceptable to the Government and that they will put no obstacle in the way of its passage. Indeed, I hope they will give it facilities so that it may become law as speedily as possible.
§ Mr. DOUGLAS HACKING
I desire to support this Measure and to join in the chorus of appreciation of its contents. May I at the same time congratulate the hon. and gallant Member for Harrow (Major Salmon) on his good fortune in the Ballot and on the fact that he has carried the Bill through to its present 1921 stage. Let me refer to one or two observations which have been made by hon. Members this morning. The hon. Member for Birkenhead East (Mr. White) spoke of the danger of duplication of effort and said that under the terms of the Bill there might be a possibility of overlapping. He quoted certain organisations which, even if they were not in fact doing the work which might be fulfilled by a central organisation, might possibly be performing such work. He referred to the Empire Marketing Board, to the Department of Overseas Trade and to a certain organisation in Liverpool.
As far as the Empire Marketing Board is concerned it is quite true that they do a great deal of advertising to help Dominion trade. But as a matter of fact the organisation, with which I am connected, and which I had the honour of founding some two years ago—the Travel Association of Great Britain and Ireland —is in close and constant touch with the Empire Marketing Board, and there is very little chance of any overlapping with ourselves so far as that Board is concerned. With reference to the Department of Overseas Trade, the Minister of the Department actually is Chairman of out Executive Committee, and there again there is no chance that anything will be done by our Association which could possibly clash with the activities of the Department of Overseas Trade. In fact the actual sum of money which is granted by the Government to our Association is shown on the Vote of the Department of Overseas Trade, and if the Minister felt for one moment that there was any overlapping or that we were not carrying out some useful purpose, the Vote would at once be cut out.
There is another thing which shows that there will be no overlapping. Quite recently the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs has set up a Committee to consider the question of co-operative advertising. I understand that that Committee will shortly be making its report. I am sure that if hon. Members will read the Report they will be satisfied that the danger which the hon. Member for Birkenhead East fears will not occur.
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Yeovil had two criticisms of the Bill. The first was that 1922 the efforts at advertising might become localised, and that the first Clause of the Bill might be interpreted in a narrow way. My hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) answered that criticism when he stated that in Committee we had inserted, after the word "organisation" the wordsapproved in England and Wales by the Minister of Health and in Scotland by the Secretary of State.That makes it obvious that no small or unimportant organisation could carry out the intentions of the Bill; unless it is definitely approved by the Minister of Health or by the Secretary of State for Scotland no organisation is enabled to receive these contributions.
§ Mr. HACKING
The hon. and learned member was not in the House, I believe, when that was explained. In Standing Committee, after the word "organisation", in line 8, the words were inserted "approved in England and Wales by the Minister of Health and in Scotland by the Secretary of State." With the alteration the Clause reads:Subject to the provisions of this Act, any local authority in Great Britain may contribute to any organisation approved in England and Wales by the Minister of Health and in Scotland by the Secretary of State, established for collecting and collating information…The only reason why those words do not appear in the Bill to-day is, as the hon. Member for Torquay said, a question of economy. The Bill has not been reprinted since it came down from the Standing Committee, but those words will appear in the Act because they were inserted in Committee.
§ Mr. HACKING
They will appear in fact. They have been approved by the Standing Committee. I understand it is only in the interest of economy that the Bill has not been reprinted. I do not know whether one could make this a point of Order.
I should like to know what is the position we are in. In the Vote Office this morning we were given old Bills and not the Bill as amended in Standing Committee.
§ Mr. KNIGHT
On that point of Order. Surely the words that we are passing this morning must be in the Bill which is before us? It is not possible afterwards to refer to some other words which are not in the Bill.
§ 12 n.
§ Mr. HACKING
Before the House met this morning I went to the Vote Office and asked for a copy of this Bill. When I read the Bill I realised for the first time that those words were not inserted, and I said to the Clerk, "This Bill is not up-to-date. May I have a new edition of the Bill, which is complete and up-to-date as a result of the discussion in Committee and the action taken by the Committee?" The Clerk told me that all Bills were not necessarily reprinted after the Second Reading, unless some Amendment which was inserted in Committee was of vital importance. Apparently, the authorities of the House did not consider these words of sufficient importance to justify a reprinting of the Bill. The Clerk assured me that they would be in the Act when passed. Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, you can assure the House on that point?
§ Mr. KNIGHT
When you, Mr. Speaker, put the Question, "That the Bill be now read the Third time," that Question can cover only the words in the Bill before us. Is not that so?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It is, of course, the custom when alterations are made in a Bill in Committee for the Bill to be reprinted as amended in Committee, but, owing to the general wish that the House has always expressed for economy, if Amendments which are not really substantial are made in a Bill it is not necessary to reprint the Bill before it comes up for Third Reading, especially when there are no Amendments on the Report stage. It is clearly a matter of economy. But the Bill will be reprinted before it goes to another place in the final form in which it leaves this House.
§ Mr. HACKING
I am obliged for the explanation, which clears up any possible doubt. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Yeovil raised another question. He desired that the scope of the Bill should be widened in order to keep people at home. He had in mind those British subjects who had not seen the whole of the British Isles, and he thought they should be attracted to see these 1924 islands before they decided where they would spend their holidays. Unfortunately it will be rather difficult to enlarge the scope of the Bill and still enable contributions to be made to the Travel Association. Many of our important subscriptions come from shipping companies, who are only too anxious to carry people from foreign countries to this country, but if we had to enlarge the scope of the Bill and thus enlarge the powers of the Travel Association so that we could encourage people to remain at home, it is very unlikely that we would receive the large contributions that we at present receive from shipping companies. I am sure that every Member of the House would welcome another Measure which would have the effect of inducing people to spend their holidays here rather than go abroad, but it is outside the scope of this Bill and must remain outside the scope of this Bill, because it is a totally different, problem.
The main object of the Bill is to give all local authorities an equal opportunity of contributing towards propaganda to attract more people here from oversea. At present some local authorities may contribute to a central fund, or spend their own money for this important service but not all are enabled to do so. The Bill will extend to all local authorities the facilities in this respect which are now possessed only by a few. Local authorities will thus be enabled to assist in giving their areas an amount of publicity abroad which must be to their advantage. I hope that they will appreciate the value of supporting a central organisation for this purpose. Such an organisation can accomplish a great deal which is beyond the powers of a local authority. For example, it would not be possible for a local authority to broadcast in foreign countries the attractions and amenities of this country but that is what such an organisation as the Travel Association is doing at the present time. We are advertising the amenities, the beauties, the facilities for sport in this country, through 300 broadcasting stations in the United States of America and that is something which a local authority could not possibly do. A calendar of events in this country, covering the whole year, has been printed in four languages and is being distributed throughout the world. A local authority could not do 1925 that on its own account and those are only two of the efforts which are at present being carried out by means of co-operation. No local authority could afford the cost of producing films and sending them abroad but that is being done at present by the central organisation.
Co-operative advertising which I hope will be increased under the terms of this Bill is, undoubtedly, the right form of advertising our country in foreign countries. We found that we were practically the only country which did not engage in co-operative advertising, effects of such advertising are already apparent, as has been stated by the Mover of the Motion for the Third Reading. In spite of the great financial depression in America we had 4,600 more visitors from America last year than in 1929 as a result of advertising. All these people who come to this country and travel about, spending money, are adding to the wealth of Great Britain and Ireland. The Lord Privy Seal, in his recent speech on unemployment, supported the efforts of the Travel Association and supported the proposals of this Bill, because he realises, as we must all realise, the great value to this country of an influx of oversea visitors. Visitors coming here in large numbers give additional employment to our own people, who are called upon to render services to give those visitors enjoyment and make them happy while they are here.
I hope that the House will accept the Bill and that the Government will do all in their power to accelerate its progress in another place so that it may be placed on the Statute Book at the earliest possible moment, and enable the local authorities who desire to do so—and only those who desire to do so need avail themselves of it—to contribute towards a central fund and a central organisation for advertising the attractions of their various districts in foreign countries, thus improving their own prosperity. The Bill will meet a want, as many local authorities have desired to help a central organisation for the purposes which I have indicated. I can assure the House that the money contributed in this way by local authorities will be well-spent, and will result in great benefit through- 1926 out the length and breadth of the country.
§ Mr. SHAKESPEARE
I wish to support what has been so ably said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Chorley (Mr. Hacking) in regard to this Bill. I can testify to the value of publicity, because in my constituency we have an organisation whose efforts in that direction attract many visitors to that area. I do not know whether the constituency of the noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) has a similar local organisation, but when in Paris recently I notice an advertisement of Hastings in the tube and I heard two Frenchmen discussing the beauties of Hastings and expressing a desire to visit it. I hope that they have since done so and have been duly impressed. In these days there is constant discussion in the Press as to whether or not we keep abreast of modern processes and whether or not we are sufficiently advanced in mass production and rationalisation. This Bill is an effort to rationalise advertising. The hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) and the hon. Member for Central Bristol (Mr. Alpass) have been "boosting" their respective constituencies. The hon. Member for Central Bristol has been asking people to go to Bristol—I suppose to see the cinemas closed on Sundays. I think it would be unfair to the people who have returned me to this House if I did not say something about my constituency. One can fly down to Norwich from this House in one hour and arrive at a model aerodrome and visit a district which has more ancient buildings than any other place in this country, with the exception of London. [HoN. MEMBERS: "No!"] I am prepared to submit this claim to any arbitrator, that in Norwich there are more scheduled ancient buildings than in any other city in England except London.
I approve of this Bill, because it will enable people to know about the attractions of my constituency. They will learn that, on going there, they can look over one of the finest cathedrals in England, that they will find an excellent museum there, and that they will be able to see there the works of the Norwich school of painters—of Stark and Vincent and Crome which are un- 1927 equalled in this country. Close at hand they can see wonderful excavations and Roman remains. Then it is a most historic district. It is the birthplace of Boadicea—the first of the young Liberals—who raised the flag of liberty in East Anglia. That is why Liberalism is still strong in East Anglia. Liberty may be dead but Liberalism survives. When our visitors are tired of looking round these ancient buildings they can turn their attention to the beauties of the rural area which is represented by my noble Friend the Member for Eastern Norfolk (Viscount Elmley). Without saying anything derogatory of the constituencies of the hon. Member for Torquay and the hon. Member for Central Bristol I must press the claim of my own constituency. One of the good results of this Bill will be that it will enable the world to know of a place like Norwich where so much that is of interest is compressed and where antiquity can be studied, as it were, in epitome or in miniature. I hope this Bill will go through without any opposition from any quarter.
§ Mr. EGAN
I intervene in support of the Bill because Liverpool has been mentioned. The Liverpool Organisation was formed by leading commercial spirits of Liverpool and the Merseyside area, and the assistance of the municipalities was sought. That assistance has been given financially and in other ways. The work that has been done by the Liverpool Organisation in the short three years of its existence is work that stands out as very creditable. It may interest hon. Members opposite to know that as a result of the tariff against Canadian cattle going over the American frontiers, we have been able, through the Liverpool Organisation, to divert that Canadian cattle to Birkenhead to the abattoirs there, and there are some 2,500 cattle at present coming into Liverpool in that way. Sites have been brought before the notice of several very prominent American industrialists with the idea of calling their attention to the advantages that can be derived on Merseyside, on both sides of the river, so that the municipalities there are taking an active part in this work.
Owing to the rather cumbersome machinery of coming to Parliament and 1928 the cumbersome machinery to some extent also of the local authorities it has been found wise to co-operate with the leaders of industry in the Merseyside area, because they are more mobile and can get about in order to help these firms that are looking for information about suitable sites in this country; and as a consequece trade in that area has received a good fillip. Therefore, I hope this activity will be regularised, as to-day I heard one of the speakers rather querying the legality of local authorities contributing without the aid of an Act of Parliament. It is from the earnings or profits of their trading concerns that the municipalities in the Liverpool area are contributing, and it is a matter of trading, which I understand is quite legal and will not in any way be queried by the auditors. I hope the House will unanimously support the Bill and give us local authorities an even greater scope for the development of trade.
§ Sir HENRY CAUTLEY
Before the House passes from this Bill, I should like to ask the promoters whether there is any reason for including local authorities of small boroughs and urban districts and leaving out rural districts and county councils. It seems to me to be an extremely good Bill, and I have learned this morning that it has the effect of disseminating publicity abroad and that its sole object is to encourage foreigners and persons in foreign countries to come to this country of ours. Speaking as a representative of a very beautiful county, the county of Sussex, I say without hesitation that one of the biggest attractions to foreign people, and particularly people from our own Dominions, when they come over here, is to see our beautiful English and Scottish countryside. It must be of vital importance to the localities to get a very large tourist clientèle. When you consider the beautiful country that we have in our counties and rural districts, and that we have, in the more settled parts like the south-east of England, not only the scenery but beautiful old buildings to be seen, it is extremely desirable that they should be advertised and that these country districts should have the advantage of the benefits conferred by the Bill. I suggest to the promoter that he might very well enlarge Clause 2 by 1929 adding the county councils and the rural district councils to the other local authorities mentioned.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Miss Lawrence)
We have had Members of every party speaking on this Bill, and I will not say killing it with kindness, but at least postponing its passage for a few hours. I cannot imagine a more excellent object for any Act of Parliament than the object of this Bill. We desire to increase the autonomy of local authorities in this matter of publicity and we desire to promote international intercourse. Independently of the immediate object of the Bill, it is natural enough for Members to give the matters their cordial support. The Government associate themselves with the objects of the Bill. The hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) expressed the desire that there should be more co-operation between the local authorities. I hope he will not think me unkind if I say that perhaps his speech gave an illustration of what was wanted. He desired to disabuse the people of the world of the idea that there was nothing historical in England. I assure him that that idea that Europe and the world are not conscious of this historical importance of England is a false one. A little more intercourse with foreigners would, I think, disabuse his mind of that idea. Now I want to say a word to the hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. Shakespeare). Boadicea was not the first of the young Liberals, but the first of the suffragettes.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
Oh no. The early suffragettes were by no means in harmony with the Liberal party. The great bulk of them in those days were in active opposition to that party. I claim Boadicea as the first of the new women. The hon. and gallant Member for Yeovil (Major G. Davies) said it was very undesirable that there should be any rivalry between local authorities and that they should act jointly in the matter of publicity but that is rather a counsel of perfection. If we look at the speeches of hon. Members on both sides of the House it will be found that the greater part of every speech has been devoted to an 1930 exaltation of his own constituency, somewhat to the depreciation of other constituencies, and I suppose that Members of Parliament reflect accurately the opinions of their electors, so that I am afraid that the hon. and gallant Member was asking for a degree of altruism which you could hardly expect from the local authorities. Wonder was expressed that the Bill was confined to urban districts. The reason for that is, as I understand from the promoters, that they consulted the association of local authorities, that they found the urban authorities extremely favourable and that the county councils and rural councils were not particularly enthusiastic. Very wisely the promoters of the Bill associated themselves with those who were converted and left the other local authorities who are not yet converted alone.
I have no more to say except to congratulate the promoters of the Bill. It is quite true, I imagine, that the hon. and gallant Member for Harrow (Major Salmon) with his enormous commercial experience saw what is the root of all this subject. If you want to succeed in business, you have got to have a good thing to sell, and you have got to tell the public that it is a good thing. This industry, which employs abount 350,000 persons, attracted more than 1,000,000 American visitors clearly is an industry with possibilities. If I may say so, as a distinguished business man, his fingers itched to give this great trade the opportunities which every commercial undertaking desires. He has converted the persons who have to sell the goods, namely, the councils, and will succeed in a few months in putting on the Statute Book a little Measure which will help trade and promote employment. I congratulate him upon it.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read the Third time, and passed.