HC Deb 24 July 1969 vol 787 cc2189-90

Lords Amendment No. 8: In page 7, line 38, at end insert: and any bathroom or bathrooms appearing to the Board to be provided in association with the bedrooms".

Mr. William Rodgers

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Subsection (3) of Clause 8 provides the tourist boards with a necessary discretionary power as a precaution against abuse of the provisions of Clause 8, and we discussed this in Committee.

In the generality of cases, expenditure eligible for Clause 8 grants will include all expenditure which the tourist boards consider to be of a capital nature. Thus capital expenditure can cover only constructional and fixed equipment costs of the actual bedrooms but also expenditure on extending or improving other facilities such as bathrooms, lavatories. lounge, dining and recreation areas, and kitchens.

It is necessary to guard against the provisions of Clause 8 being abused in order to obtain more grant for the mere improvement of hotel facilities than could be secured under Clause 9. A simple example would be the case of someone merely designating "staff bedrooms" as additional letting bedrooms in order to obtain grant.

Subsection (3) provides the tourist hoards with discretion to exclude expenditure not attributable to the provision of additional bedrooms in cases where they are partly provided by the alteration of existing accommodation. It is a necessary power but the tourist boards will obviously want to see additional bedrooms provided freely since this is the main purpose of this hotel incentives scheme.

Concern has been expressed lest this essential discretionary power might be applied too rigidly as regards bathroom facilities provided in conjunction with extra letting bedrooms. I understand that the other place was much concerned with adequate bathroom accommodation. Following discussion in another place, the Government proposed this Amendment to cover the bathroom point, without detracting from the essential purpose of the discretionary power in subsection (3) I commend it to the House.

Mr. Blaker

This Amendment is made in response to suggestions by Conservative peers and I welcome it. It is rather curious that it has to be left to the Conservative peers to convince the Government of the importance of bathrooms in the modern hotel industry.

Sir C. Taylor

Before we say goodbye to the Bill, as many of us have spent a great amount of time on it, I think that it is fair to say that we have received from the other place eight Amendments which have been accepted. On behalf of those who are apt to pour scorn on the work of another place, I think that we should express our gratitude for its attempts to improve the Bill in this way.

Question put and agreed to.

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