HC Deb 21 January 1986 vol 90 cc169-70
4. Mr. Bevan

asked the Paymaster General what progress has been made in Government policy towards tourism since the publication of the document "Pleasure, Leisure and Jobs".

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. David Trippier)

The Government are continuing to place a high priority on encouraging the development of tourism and on maximising the industry's potential for growth, job creation and enterprise. Since the transfer of responsibility for tourism policy to the Department of Employment in September, we have announced a substantial increase in the financial provision next year for the British Tourist Authority and the English tourist board, bringing their total provision to £40 million.

Mr. Bevan

I am delighted to hear of the further progress that has been made following the report to which many of my colleagues and I contributed as members of the party tourism committee. Will my hon. Friend be kind enough to give details of precisely where the money will be distributed to benefit areas of high unemployment such as my own, greatly increasing tourism activity.

Mr. Trippier

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his initial remarks. Discussions are currently taking place with the British Tourist Authority and the English tourist board to decide how we will split between them this money and section 4 tourist assistance. We intend to concentrate a substantial part of the money in areas where we can develop tourist attractions and where unemployment is higher.

Mr. Donald Stewart

In meeting the two aims that the Minister has enunciated, will he reject the findings and recommendation of the Select Committee that the United Kingdom tourist boards should be merged into one?

Mr. Trippier

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, we have received the report of the Select Committee on Trade and Industry. Our considered response will be available in the near future.

Mr. Butterfil

What steps does my hon. Friend intend to take to alleviate the appalling delays that are being encountered by early-morning travellers at Heathrow, where passengers are treated almost like cattle?

Mr. Trippier

If they were cattle, we would probably be prosecuted. My hon. Friend has made a valid point and identified one of the 32 action points that are highlighted in the Young report apprised entitled, "Pleasure, Leisure and Jobs: The Business of Tourism". I have recently had a meeting with my hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State, Home Office, and I am fully apprised of the importance of the matter to which my hon. Friend has drawn the attention of the House.

Dr. M. S. Miller

Valuable as tourist jobs are, they do not compensate for the loss of industrial jobs. What is the Minister doing to convince his right hon. and hon. Friends to save the steel industry in Scotland?

Mr. Trippier

The hon. Gentleman is using an ingenious device to raise a matter which is not connected directly with the substantive question. The issue which he has raised is one of balance. The Department of Employment is concerned with all these matters. I suggested in my main reply that we have a sector that has enormous wealth-creation and employment-creation potential. Perhaps that has been overlooked in the past. We are now intent on developing that potential to the full.