HC Deb 15 June 1966 vol 729 cc1443-4
24. Mr. Russell Johnston

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has to assist the tourist industry in Scotland to make a larger contribution towards a favourable balance of payments.

Mr. Ross

I have nothing to add at present to the Answers which I gave on 9th March to the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) and the then right hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian, Sir William Anstruther-Gray.

Mr. Johnston

Will not the Secretary of State admit that both his Government and the last have treated the tourist industry most unfavourably compared with the treatment that this industry receives in other countries? If he will not consider the question of investment allowances, will he at least consider relieving the industry of some of the penalty of the Selective Employment Tax?

Mr. Ross

I shall be considering, in connection with the Tourist Board Report and probably with the Tourist Board itself, what need there is to help the Scottish tourist industry. But hon. Members fail to appreciate the resilience of the Scottish tourist industry and what it has been able to do. I do not agree with the depressing pronouncements that we have had from hon. Members opposite about the future of tourism in Scotland.

Mr. Noble

Has the right hon. Gentleman had any representations from any side of the tourist industry of any sort whatever that have not totally condemned this double imposition upon it?

Mr. Ross

The right hon. Gentleman knows quite well that when we introduce taxation measures we expect condemnations, but those condemnations are not always justified in terms of their extreme gloom.

Mr. Woodburn

Has my right hon. Friend received any representations from the tourist industry to the effect that it would sooner pay this extra tax in the form of Income Tax and Surtax?

Mr. Ross

The point is that the tourist industry in Scotland, as elsewhere in Britain, depends for its prosperity upon the prosperity of Britain. The achievement and maintenance of economic strength is part of the benefit that it will derive from the measures taken by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor.