HC Deb 17 March 1949 vol 462 cc2281-4
56. Mr. Langford-Holt

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now say what basic allowance of foreign currencies will be allowed to British tourists for the year commencing 1st May, 1949.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Yes, Sir. I am glad to say that it has been found possible to make some relaxation in the arrangements for tourist travel for the 12 months beginning on 1st May. For this period the foreign currency allowance will be the equivalent of £50 for adults and £35 for children under 15 years of age.

The currency allowance will be available for tourist travel in the following countries—Austria, Belgium, Denmark (including the Faroe Islands). France. Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands. Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The possibility of adding one or two countries to this list is still under consideration.

In the case of Switzerland. total expenditure on tourist travel will be limited to about £4.5 million for the 12 months.

Expenditure in Belgium and Luxembourg will be limited to£1.1 million for the 12 months and, in order to enable the maximum number of people to visit those countries, the Belgian and Luxembourg authorities have decided to limit the amount which individuals may spend in the two countries to £35 for adults and £25 for children under 15.

The detailed arrangements for travel to Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg will be announced shortly.

The car allowance formerly available to tourists will also be restored. An extra allowance of currency equivalent to a maximum of £10 per car will be allowed to private motorists to enable them to travel to their destination by car instead of by train. This is an alternative to the present arrangement, which will of course continue, whereby a traveller is permitted to pay his return fare in sterling outside the basic travel allowance.

I should emphasise that this new travel allowance does not come into operation until 1st May next, so that anyone desiring to go abroad before that date can only do so on the basis of their existing travel allowance.

Sir Ian Fraser

In the case of those countries where there is a limitation, such as Switzerland, etc.. will the sum of money available be split into four parts so that it can be drawn upon each quarter? Otherwise it might all go in the first week or two.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Arrangements will have to be made by the authorisation offices which will be set up—in the case of Switzerland one exists already. Points like that will be settled by the authorisation offices before applications are made.

Mr. Tiffany

Is my right hon. Friend prepared to widen the list of countries he has mentioned, if possible to include Yugoslavia.

Hon. Members

And Russia.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

We would be pleased to be able to include Yugoslavia and consideration is being given to that matter now.

Colonel Dower

Is there any alteration in the amount of money that persons are allowed to take on them when they leave this country?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Oh, dear, no. They are allowed to take in currency notes £5 which must not be spent except on a British ship or on a British aeroplane. This sum is allowed in order that, when the traveller returns to this country, he should not he without English money in his pocket.

Mr. Chetwynd

Where the numbers are limited, will my right hon. Friend consider giving priority to medical cases that are no approved by the special committee that has been set up?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

That, again, is not for us. Within the global limits set, it will be for the country concerned, through its authorised agency here, to decide who shall or shall not receive currency.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Is it the case that the number of persons who may go to Switzerland in the next currency year is half that of those who were permitted to go last year; and does that cut in the number of personnel allowed to go, apply to any other country?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I am sorry, but I do not know how many went to Switzerland last year.

Mr. Harrison

Taking into consideration the global limits of expenditure on this form of travel, why has my right hon. Friend increased the personal allowance and thereby limited the number of people who can take part in this enjoyable foreign travel?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

We do not limit the number, except in the case of Belgium and Switzerland, where special considerations apply, and they—not we—are limiting the amount.

Mr. H. Strauss

How does the "global limit" differ from the "limit"?