§ 6. Mr. Awbery
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that the site of the Royal Opera House in Valetta was cleared over two years ago in preparation for rebuilding but that no start has yet been made; and whether, with a view to attracting tourists, he will take steps to start building at an early date.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
Where heavy capital expenditure is involved the Government of Malta's policy is to give priority to projects of an essential nature, and those likely to assist in the diversification of the island's economy. Nevertheless, it is intended that the Royal Opera House should be rebuilt if the reserve or contingencies element of £4 million in the Development Plan has not been otherwise committed before 1961–62.
§ Mr. Awbery
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is because of the economic position of Malta that I put this Question down? We promised the people of Malta some time ago that part of their new industries would be tourism, and surely the re-establishment of the Royal Opera House in Malta would encourage tourism in the island?
§ Mr. Macleod
I think that there are more direct ways of encouraging tourism in Malta than this contribution, on which, I am sure, it would be necessary to incur a running deficit as well, but it stands a chance of being included, as my Answer indicates.