HC Deb 08 July 1969 vol 786 cc1146-7
16. Mr. Hunt

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he has agreed to give a preferential foreign travel allowance to holders of tickets for the 1970 World Cup competition in Mexico.

23. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what grounds sanction has been given for a £150 per head travel allowance to 8,000 persons intending to attend the Association Football World Cup Competition in Mexico in 1970.

Mr. Taverne

This is a special occasion similar, in its popular importance and its duration, to the Olympic Games for which like arrangements have been made on previous occasions. The arrangement was agreed last year to enable bookings to be made.

Mr. Hunt

Does it not tend to bring the regulations into disrepute when spectators of one particular sport are allowed a special privilege of this kind? Or could it be that, by the time the World Cup games are played in Mexico next year, these miserable and miserly restrictions will be swept away?

Mr. Taverne

First, this does not apply to one particular sport. It applied to the Olympic Games as well. It was applied by the Conservative Government when they had these regulations in force as it has been applied by this Government.

I have no doubt that the footballers concerned will gain if some supporters from this country are there. It would be impossible for supporters to attend if this provision did not exist.

Mr. Shinwell

How does this relate to the policy of the squeeze? Is it an aspect of the squeeze policy? Can my hon. Friend explain why the Treasury provides this preferential treatment? Am I not as much entitled to the allowance as anybody else, even though I am not interested in the World Cup?

Mr. Taverne

If my right hon. Friend was interested in the Olympic Games he could get a special allowance. Without a special allowance it would be impossible for anyone to attend something which lasts as long as three weeks.