HC Deb 18 July 1989 vol 157 c214
12. Mr. Raffan

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he intends announcing the outcome of, and decisions arising from, his Department's review of tourism initiated in July 1988.

Mr. Lee

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 6 July to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Yardley (Mr. Bevan) at column 278.

Mr. Raffan

By asking the British Tourist Authority to devolve greater authority to its overseas regions, does my hon. Friend risk the possibility of more uniform and so less effective promotion of Wales overseas?

Mr. Lee

Not at all. As a result of the findings of our review, we are asking the BTA to put more of its marketing effort and more of its personnel abroad at the sharp end. The problem at present, in our view, is that its staff is concentrated very much in this country. Of a total complement of 460 staff, only 170 are overseas.

Mr. Cryer

In the review, has the Minister ensured that people working in the tourist industry have the right to join trade unions, and that the trade unions are given the opportunity to recruit in the tourist industry to ensure decent wages and working conditions in an industry which is notorious for the lack of either? Does he agree with his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister that, if trade unions are good enough for Poland, they are good enough for our workers?

Mr. Lee

I get a little upset when hon. Gentlemen, such as the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer), knock the wage levels in the tourist industry. The truth is that the remuneration packages in the industry are increasing all the time. It is being increasingly seen as an attractive industry to join. I remind the hon. Gentleman that no other industry is creating jobs at the rate of nearly 1,000 net new jobs a week.

Mr. Key

Does my hon. Friend accept that the Government's record of steady and modest support for the tourist industry is one of great success on which they should be congratulated? Will he, however, have a word with the chairman of English Heritage to press on him the importance of a speedy decision on the future of Stonehenge?

Mr. Lee

On my hon. Friend's latter point, either I will have a word with the chairman of English Heritage or I will ask my successor to do so.