HC Deb 13 May 1948 vol 450 cc2284-5
71. Mr. Gerald Williams

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what petrol allowance is now to be given to foreign tourists using second-hand cars for touring this country.

The Minister of Fuel and Power (Mr. Gaitskell)

They will be entitled to draw the standard ration, and in addition, if they are exporting the car, an allowance to enable them to make the journey by direct route from the place of purchase to the port of embarkation.

Mr. Williams

Is it correct that it foreign visitors want to make a tour of this country in second-hand cars they are not allowed petrol for the purpose, and does not that appear to be forcing them into buying new cars which they do not want? Does not the Minister agree that we want the Americans to use the petrol, because we make a handsome profit on the transaction?

Mr. Gaitskell

The difficulty is, of course, that if we allowed the tourists a full allowance for second-hand cars there would be a remarkable increase in the number of second-hand cars alleged to be sold by British persons to foreign visitors.

Mr. Erroll

Could not a greater concession be given to Dominion visitors to this country who would respect our difficulties in this matter?

Mr. Gaitskell

The risk of abuses in this matter is much too great.

Mr. Scollan

Is the Minister aware of the tremendous importance of this matter to the tourist industry in Scotland? If the Minister could get either new cars or second-hand cars placed at the disposal of American and Canadian visitors to this country would it not mean a tremendous fillip to the tourist industry which is now waiting for these people to come?

Mr. Gaitskell

There will be no difficulty about their getting new cars but we cannot make special petrol allowances for British second-hand cars.

Sir W. Wakefield

Are there sufficient new cars for immediate delivery to foreign visitors?

Mr. Gaitskell

From the export quota, yes, Sir.

Mr. Fernyhough

Is the Minister aware that if we want tourists to think well of us, they had better buy new cars because the racket in second-hand cars is such that it is cheaper to buy a new car if one can be obtained?

Mr. Gerald Williams

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many cases it takes from six to eight weeks to get a new car?

Hon. Members

It takes two or three years.