§ 22. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the British tourist traffic is one of the main props of the Italian Government in the matter of foreign exchange; that holidays and cruises are offered by subsidised Italian firms at rates far below those that unsubsidised firms can offer; that Italian nationals are not allowed to spend money in this country; and whether he can take any steps to ensure reciprocal treatment in these matters?
I am aware that British and other tourist traffic is an important source of foreign exchange for the Italian Government, that Italian shipping concerns receive Government subsidies, and that tourist traffic from Italy to this country, and no doubt to other countries, has diminished owing to Italian currency restrictions. As regards the last part of the question, His Majesty's Government, as at present advised, do not feel able to take any steps in the matter.
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is estimated that on eight cruises alone in Italy the Italian Government will pocket £150,000, and can nothing be done to protect our tourist agencies and shipping companies from this form of subsidised competition?
I would remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman that that £50,000 of sterling exchange becomes available for the purchase of goods in this country 2835 and that is a matter in which many hon. Members, particularly from South Wales, find of very great interest.
§ Mr. Macquisten
Is it not very kind of the Italian Government to give us these cheap trips in Italy?
My answer shows that the tourist traffic to this country is diminishing because of Italian currency control.
§ Mr. H. G. Williams
Will the right hon. Gentleman take careful note of the welcome extended to Fascists by hon. Members opposite?