HC Deb 05 May 1975 vol 891 cc990-1
2. Sir George Young

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will make a statement on the representations he has received from the tourist authorities in response to his new guidelines.

Mr. Deakins

Constructive discussions are taking place between my Department and the statutory tourist authorities. In due course, when these discussions are concluded, a further statement will be made.

Sir G. Young

Is the Minister aware that the guidelines which he issued last November and the speech which his right hon. Friend made last week on tourism fall far short of the Government's policy towards tourism for which both the industry and the tourist authorities have been pressing his Department for many months?

Mr. Deakins

Certainly the policies that we have announced have not pleased every section of the trade. However, we are quite confident that, given the one limitation that everyone must recognise—the need to conserve national resources and not to increase Government expenditure in real terms on tourism—within that parameter and constraint the Government's policy is the right one for the next few years.

Mr. Hall-Davis

In the Minister's next discussion with the tourist authorities will he pay particular attention to the case for reviewing the areas which qualify for tourist development grants? There is a certain illogicality in assuming that areas which are, perhaps, appropriately designated for industrial investment grants should also be the right areas for tourist development. The intermediate areas have a very strong case for some extended help.

Mr. Deakins

We have certainly had a number of representations, both from hon. Members and from outside authorities, about extending to intermediate areas assistance afforded under Section 4 of the 1969 Act. However, we feel that it is much better to concentrate the scarce resources which are available on those areas which have untapped potential but which have the greatest problem of regional unemployment. Although we are sympathetic with the problems of the intermediate areas, in the present state of public expenditure the most we can do is to ensure that the money is spread where it is most needed.

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