HC Deb 04 July 1972 vol 840 cc230-2
16. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Employment in which regions of the United Kingdom the tourist industry employs more people than the coal, steel or shipbuilding industries.

Mr. Dudley Smith

I regret that the information is not available. My Department's employment estimates are analysed according to the Standard Industrial Classification, which does not provide a separate classification for the tourist industry.

Mr. Adley

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that those of us who have spent some time working in the industry will find that answer not altogether surprising as it indicates the lack of priority which successive Governments have given to it? Is he aware of the considerable opportunities for employment, particularly for young people, in the tourist industry? Will he do his best to emphasise that there are these opportunities in an industry with a future which offers security of employment?

Mr. Smith

I am aware of the good work my hon. Friend does on behalf of the tourist industry. The Government accept that it is of front-rank importance to the country's economy. The Department is doing everything possible to encourage more people, particularly young people, to go into the hotels and catering industry and the various other parts of the tourist industry. However, it is difficult to classify tourism by itself because hotels, catering, entertainment and other jobs have a different type of approach to this whole problem. I assure my hon. Friend that a great deal of effort is being made by the Department of Trade and Industry to assist the industry.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

While accepting the great importance of the tourist industry in terms of revenue and jobs, may I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that because of its seasonal nature it is no substitute for jobs giving permanent employment in manufacturing industry in areas of high unemployment like Wales and Scotland?

Mr. Smith

I go some way with the right hon. Gentleman on that point, but we are not talking purely of temporary work. There is a great future for tourism in this country which offers work on a permanent basis. As the right hon. Gentleman knows from living in London, tourism now seems to span more than simply the summer months.

Dame Joan Vickers

In view of the great amount of unemployment among young people and the availability of excellent courses in polytechnics and technical colleges, may I ask my hon. Friend why he does not encourage more young people through his careers officers to go into this industry? Will he have another look at the Catering Wages Act to see whether it is satisfactory?

Mr. Smith

We are conscious of this matter and are making efforts in this direction. There have been consultations with the hotel and catering industry. Colleges of further education and employers, encouraged by my Department, are making provision for people to be trained. About 700 men and women are being trained annually at present, and by the end of the year the number could be about 1,400.

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