§ 16. Mr. Franks
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what arrangements exist for the recovery of moneys allocated under section 4 of the Development of Tourism Act 1969 by the English tourist board where projects receiving such moneys are closed shortly after final payments are made.
§ Mr. Forth
The English tourist board may require the recipient of a grant made under section 4 to repay some or all of it if any of the conditions have been breached. The conditions apply for 10 years from the date of the final payment of the grant. In particular, a repayment may be sought if the recipient ceases business, for whatever reason.
§ Mr. Franks
The Minister will be aware of the tremendous efforts that were made three years ago to secure for the Furness maritime museum a grant of £294,000—the largest grant for a single project. The Minister will also be aware of the circumstances that have prompted my question to him. Will he therefore communicate to Barrow district council the answer that he has given me this afternoon?
§ Mr. Forth
I pay tribute to the role that my hon. Friend has played in the very important project that he mentioned. I wish that project well, but I must repeat to my hon. Friend and to all involved in the project that it is the duty of the English tourist board to seek to recover any public moneys that may have been spent on such a project. No one involved in such a project, be it the local authority or anyone else, should imagine that if the project ceases they can walk away with the public money involved. Our duty is to the taxpayer and we want to make sure that the moneys are recovered where appropriate.