HC Deb 13 November 1952 vol 507 cc1100-2
17. Sir Edward Keeling

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any list is being prepared of householders who are willing to provide lodging for visitors to this country for the Coronation.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

Yes, Sir. I am informed by the British Travel and Holidays Association that such a list already exists and arrangements are being made to extend it in time for the Coronation.

23 Miss Burton

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether he is in a position to make a statement on the Government's policy regarding the measures put forward by the Coronation Accommodation Committee concerning hotel charges for rooms on the Coronation route;

(2) whether he is aware of public annoyance at prices being asked for accommodation in both large and small hotels near the time of the Coronation; and, as such annoyance damages the goodwill of the entire hotel industry in London, if the Government will recommend that a list of charges covering the period from mid-May to mid-June be published;

(3) whether he is aware of the high prices being asked for viewing accommodation along the Coronation route; and if, therefore, he will request the Coronation Accommodation Committee to issue a statement making quite clear where hotel charges include an actual view and, where such is not the case, what charge is being made.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The Coronation Accommodation Committee inform me that they will undertake to investigate any specific allegations of over-charging brought to their notice. I will, therefore, arrange to refer to them for investigation details of any specific cases brought to my attention where exorbitant prices are alleged to have been asked for accommodation.

The Committee have also undertaken to consider with those concerned, the suggestion that the hotels on or near the processional route should indicate whether or not their charges include facilities for seeing the procession.

I think that in view of the very large number of hotels involved and the variety of accommodation, the idea of publishing a list of charges would be inappropriate, and that the procedure envisaged will be the most effective way of dealing with the matter.

Miss Burton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a great many people, and certainly I myself, are not satisfied with that answer? May I ask him, first of all, because I think that I should say this, if he is aware that the example which I quoted to him a fortnight ago was made by the Male Travel Bureau, of Madison Avenue, New York, and that they still adhere to that statement? May I also ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he does not realise that, if a list of these charges is not made, this business will go on because people who are being advised that hotels are full for this period believe that that is not the case? Will he ask for a further statement from the Coronation Accommodation Committee?

Mr. Thorneycroft

A great deal of the hotel accommodation has been already let.

Miss Burton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the public find it very difficult to reconcile statements from the hotels that they are full with statements that they do not know what charges they will be making? How can they be full, if these charges are not yet known?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I have some sympathy with the hon. Lady's point of view about these charges, as I said on the last occasion when she put down a Question about it. If she has specific instances in which she wants investigation made and she will draw my attention to them or the attention of the Coronation Accommodation Committee, I will see that that is done.