HC Deb 11 December 1990 vol 182 cc802-3
6. Mr. Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to replace section 4 grants for tourism.

Mr. Forth

There are no such plans. I have no reason to believe that there is any need in England for a scheme of Government assistance specifically targeted on tourism projects.

Mr. Atkinson

Will my hon. Friend confirm that not only the tourist industries of Wales and Scotland but those of many other countries in the EC which enjoy a much more beneficial climate continue to be grant-aided? Why is England being discriminated against in this way?

Mr. Forth

The United Kingdom glories in great variety in its arrangements. The Government have long recognised that the needs of Wales and Scotland differ from those of England—that has been acknowledged throughout the House for many years.

The record shows the success that England has had in attracting tourists. The United Kingdom is the fifth greatest tourist destination in the world. England continues to attract tourists and a level of investment in tourist-related projects to a degree that suggests that any help from the taxpayer would be inappropriate.

Mr. Meale

Why will not the Government change their position? In Mansfield 190,000 customers of the electricity board are still cut off because of the bad weather, as are tens of thousands of other homes throughout the country. How will we rebuild our communities unless we get grant aid to attract tourism and other forms of employment to our areas?

Mr. Forth

The hon. Gentleman should be worried that an influx of tourists today and tomorrow would overload the electricity system even more and cause his constituents great difficulty.