HC Deb 18 October 1949 vol 468 cc476-7
37. Air-Commodore Harvey

asked the Lord President of the Council, in view of the economic difficulties of the country, if it is still proposed to proceed with the arrangements for a fun fair in Battersea Park during the Festival of Britain.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

Yes, Sir, but "fun fair" would be a misleading description of the Festival Gardens as a whole. The so-called fun fair, which is better described as the amusement section, will be only a small part of the Festival Gardens. It will take up only about a sixth of the whole area. It is clear that some people are still thinking of the Festival Gardens project as one huge hurdy-gurdy. But the rest of the Festival Gardens—about 30 acres out of the 37 earmarked—is to provide rest, refreshment and amusements and entertainments of other kinds for visitors to the South Bank exhibition. These amenities would normally be provided on the same site as the exhibition and as an integral part of it, but because of the limited site on the South Bank this is not possible.

As I said in reply to the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson) on 12th July, most of the attractions in the amusement section are to be provided by concessionaires who will pay rent for them. It is not expected that this section of the Festival Gardens will result in any loss.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that in these serious and difficult times it would be better to divert this effort into something which would bring economic help to the people? How does he expect the people to appreciate the seriousness of the situation when this sort of rubbish is put over to them? Is he trying to impress upon them that we are now round "recovery corner" completely?

Mr. Morrison

If the hon. and gallant Gentleman adopts this point of view he ought to advocate the closing of every cinema and every form of amusement in the country. Taking this project by and large, it is a sound economic proposition which will also bring dollars into the country. I very much hope that this will not be the subject of partisan consideration.

Mr. Mikardo

Will my right hon. Friend make it clear that his use of the term "amusement section" instead of "fun fair" does not mean that those who enter the amusement section will be expressly forbidden to have any fun?