HC Deb 21 July 1975 vol 896 cc23-4
13. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection how many representations she has received in 1975 on package holiday surcharges.

Mr. Alan Williams

Ten, Sir.

Mr. McCrindle

The Office of Fair Trading having deplored the imposition of the surcharges either at the airport or, more particularly, at the resort, will the Minister try to persuade those tour operators who have been guilty to desist? Will he tell us why some operators have felt it necessary to impose this sort of surcharge although others taking holiday makers to the same resort and the same hotel have not?

Mr. Alan Williams

It is often a matter of the conditions of contract. It is understandable that where the value of sterling has fallen and imposed extra costs on operators, they sometimes incur legitimate extra costs, which should be recouped. As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, the Civil Aviation Authority is looking at the matter, and we are waiting for its report. The hon. Gentleman will be further aware that responsibility for the industry is vested in the Department of Trade and not in my Department.

Mr. MacFarquhar

Does my hon. Friend accept that many holiday makers find it incomprehensible that they should pay many months in advance, at a certain sterling rate, for their holidays and yet, when they take their holidays in the summer, they find they are liable for a surcharge? Will he undertake to ensure that these surcharges are not due to the inefficiency of tour operators who do not buy transportation or residential accommodation far enough in advance?

Mr. Alan Williams

I cannot give that assurance, because responsibility rests with the Department of Trade. However, I shall draw the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade to the points made by my hon. Friend.

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