HC Deb 17 February 1937 vol 320 cc1186-8
45. Mr. Hall-Caine

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the large number of visitors from the Empire, United States of America, and other countries who will be staying in this country during the Coronation period, he will consider the desirability of setting up at an early date a comprehensive committee which will be able to co-ordinate and encourage schemes for public and private hospitality to these visitors?

The Prime Minister

I understand that plans are being made by the combined Empire societies, by the English-speaking Union, and other organisations to prepare and encourage schemes for public and private hospitality to visitors from overseas to this country next summer. Schemes directed to this end have the fullest approval of His Majesty's Government, but I do not think any useful purpose would be served by Government intervention.

Mr. Attlee

(by Private Notice) asked the Lord President of the Council whether he has any statement to make regarding the price of seats on the Government stands to view the Coronation procession?

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald)

Yes, Sir. This is a question which has given rise to prolonged consideration. The subject was approached with the idea of using these stands to accommodate representatives of the many-sided life of the nation. Obviously, if this was to be done, prices had to be fixed which would not be a bar to anyone invited to attend. The net cost of a seat on the uncovered Government stands is about 30s., and on stands covered,. £2 5s. It is clear, however, that such charges would be beyond the means of many people whose presence should be made possible. We examined very carefully various proposals involving differentiation of charges, but came to the conclusion that any scheme based upon differentiation was unworkable; and accordingly the Government have felt justified in fixing the price for uncovered seats at 15s. and for covered seats at £1 2s. 6d.—the Treasury finding the balance. These seats are not to be sold to the general public, but only to persons chosen by the groups amongst which the representation is to be allotted.

Mr. Thorne

I take it for granted that when the Coronation is over the Treasury will recoup themselves by selling the timber?

Mr. MacDonald

Not exactly, I am afraid. As a matter of fact, the return of the timber is included in the tenders which were put in for the erection of the stands.