HL Deb 03 February 1977 vol 379 cc1022-4WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:—

  1. (1) How many work permits have been issued to foreigners to work in the hotel and catering trade, and how many are in effect now.
  2. (2) What is the total number of the dependants of the tourist industry workers issued with permits.
  3. (3) How many of these dependants are of school age.
  4. (4) What is the relevant cost (estimate if necessary) to the Health Service and to the Education Service.
  5. (5) How many of the children have to be provided with tuition in English as a second language.
  6. (6) What sums have been repatriated by hotel and catering trade workers with the permission of the Bank of England.
  7. (7) What proportion of the turnover of the tourist trade goes to providing goods and services for foreign tourists by central or local government.
  8. 1023
  9. (8) What social costs of tourism have so far been identified by the British Tourist Association or the Government.
  10. (9) What is the cost (or the estimated cost) to local authorities of providing lavatories, parking sites for coaches and other tourist vehicles, repairing pavements damaged by tourist coaches, and other wear and tear.
  11. (10) What is the estimated cost of the burden on the police and immigration services of the arrival, sojourn and departure of 9 million foreigners per year.
  12. (11) What calculation, in terms of the true costs and the true benefits of the tourist industry, have been carried out by the BTA, the Government, the local authorities, the universities, or any other party.
  13. (12) Why does the BTA include no costs to the United Kingdom economy or to Government services from the arrival, sojourn and departure of 9 million tourists per year in its annual report to Parliament.
  14. (13) Why, if no calculations of costs have been done, does the BTA assume that the arrival, sojourn and departure of 10 million tourists in 1976 will benefit the country more than 9 million in 1975.
  15. (14) What is the optimum number of tourists per year in the view of the Government.


(1) Permits issued (including permission given for those already in this country when the application was made) for foreign and Commonwealth workers in the hotel and catering industry in the years 1973–75 and for the period January-September 1976 were as follows:

Foreign Commonwealth Total
1973 6,723 461 7,184
1974 6,669 479 7,148
1975 7,660 1,502 9,162
1976* 2,863 543 3,406
Figures for the last quarter of 1976 are not yet available. Nationals of EEC countries do not require work permits. Statistics do not show the number of work permit holders at present in the United Kingdom nor the occupation of permit holders admitted.

(2 and 3) Under the Immigration Rules, dependants of work permit holders comprise wives and children under 18. In 1975, 4,514 foreign and Commonwealth dependants of work permit holders were admitted to the United Kingdom; but statistics are not maintained to show the type of employment of the work permit holders to whom they were related, nor their age.

(10) The estimated net cost of the immigration services, including nationality work, in 1976–77, at November 1975 prices is £14,658,000. Information is not available as to police expenditure incurred in controlling foreign nationals in the United Kingdom.

(8, 11, 12 and 13) The British Tourist Authority's functions do not require the carrying out of a comprehensive cost benefit analysis of tourism; and no such analysis has been carried out by the Government or by the Authority, although the Authority's published report Tourism in Context identifies, and comments on, some social costs which are said to be produced by tourism. I will write to my noble friend about the problems involved in a cost benefit study of tourism.

The Authority directed its attention to the effects of tourism on the balance of payments, and BTA estimate that the expected additional visitors in 1977 will utilise existing spare capacity and will make a substantial contribution to foreign exchange earnings.

(14) The optimum number of tourists per year will depend on the level of investment in tourist facilities, and on the extent to which tourists travel outside the more popular tourist centres to those areas where spare capacity exists.

The information sought in the other Questions (Nos. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9) is not available.