HC Deb 21 July 1987 vol 120 cc197-8
7. Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are employed in the tourist industry in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Lee

Estimates of the number of jobs supported by tourism spending range around 1.4 million.

Mr. Wigley

Does the Minister accept that a large number of jobs in tourism are seasonal and, as such, after three years people involved in those jobs will lose their entitlement to unemployment benefit? That not only hits those seasonal workers hard, but distorts the unemployment figures. What does the Department intend to do to ensure that unemployment benefit will be payable to seasonal workers who have been working in tourism for more than three years?

Mr. Lee

Of course, some of the jobs in tourism are seasonal. One accepts that. If I remember correctly, that was the point made by the hon. Member in the Adjournment debate on tourism about 10 days ago. I draw the hon. Gentleman's attention to the whole range of schemes available under the action for jobs programme, which will provide every opportunity for those who are in seasonal work to seek and achieve other job opportunities in their free period.

Mr. Soames

Does my hon. Friend accept that employment will not increase in the tourist industry unless we solve our serious litter problem? Will he join me in approaching our hon. Friends to ask them to consider whether a Government litter warning could be placed on every disposable package sold over the counter in this country to try to cure this dreadful curse?

Mr. Lee

I very much agree with my hon. Friend. We should be ashamed of the quantities of litter on our streets and our resorts. I agree, too, with the earlier point of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton). I shall examine the specific suggestion made by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Matthew Taylor

Does the Minister accept that in many areas of the country tourism is declining as more people are able to go to areas offering year-round facilities and guaranteed sunshine? Will he use his influence in the Cabinet to push for more indoor all-weather facilities to create, not only more seasonal jobs in tourism, but more year-round jobs of use to the community as a whole?

Mr. Lee

Cornwall and the west country have many popular tourist attractions and people come to Cornwall for specific reasons. Increasingly, all-weather facilities are being constructed. Indeed, in all, £1 billion-worth of construction jobs are under way in the tourism and leisure industries.

Mr. Adley

Will my hon. Friend take an early opportunity to publish in the Official Report the fact that a fundamental change has taken place in the relationship of manufacturing and service sector jobs since 1945? Having accepted, as most sensible people do, that the trend will inevitably continue, may I ask my hon. Friend to examine the ways in which tourism in particular, and the service industries in general, can help the Government to achieve their objective of increased employment opportunities in inner-city areas?

Mr. Lee

The trends in manufacturing and service employment since 1945–46 are well known and well documented. Often, jobs in tourism and the service industries complement manufacturing, and vice versa. Let us take the example of the construction of a new hotel and the manufactured products that go into it — from building materials to kitchen equipment, furniture and uniforms for the staff. Tourism and manufacturing are in many cases complementary.

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