HC Deb 04 March 1996 vol 273 cc11-2
10. Mrs. Lait

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many good causes have been awarded funds from the national lottery in south-east England. [16360]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

Four hundred and eighty-two national lottery awards, totalling £116 million, have been awarded in south-east England.

Mrs. Lait

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the residents of Hastings and Rye are already seeing the benefits of some of the awards to my constituency, many of which are extending the tourism season? Is she also aware that people in Hastings enjoy gambling on the lottery? Does she agree that, if we are to extend the tourism season, high-quality casino gambling would be very acceptable? Would she please make representations to the Home Office to that effect and to ensure that no money from the national lottery goes to new build casinos?

Mrs. Bottomley

My hon. Friend is right. Lottery money is promoting the tourism industry particularly in coastal areas and the English tourist board has submitted a bid to the Millennium Commission further to promote our coastal areas. She will be aware that my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary is consulting on casinos and bingo, which also have an important contribution to make to the tourism industry. I shall certainly bear in mind my hon. Friend's comments.

Mrs. Anne Campbell

As someone who takes her holidays in a seaside resort, the Secretary of State is no doubt aware of the importance to the local economy and national built heritage of some of our local seaside towns. As there have been capital controls on local authorities that have prevented them from investing in many of our national seaside heritage buildings, resulting in dilapidation and decay, would she be prepared to undertake a national review of seaside resorts and, in particular, of how investment in them can be facilitated?

Mrs. Bottomley

I am well aware of the work undertaken by the English tourist board to promote our coastal towns. As far as I am concerned, we need a booming tourism industry. The greatest threat to that industry is that the Opposition should reach power and introduce the social chapter and the minimum wage. That would, at a stroke, do more damage to our tourism industry than anything else.

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