HC Deb 18 February 1986 vol 92 cc140-1W
37. Mr. Gregory

asked the Paymaster General what financial assistance has been given by the Government to the United Kingdom conference industry for each year since 1979; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Trippier

The Government recognise that the conference sector is an important element of the tourism market and assist the sector through the funds made available to the British tourist authority and the national tourist boards for England, Scotland and Wales.

Since 1979 to date the English tourist board has given the following assistance to conference centre developments under section 4 of the Development of Tourism Act 1969.

Year Number of centres Amount
1979–80 2 365,000
1981–82 1 33,400
1982–83 2 225,000
1983–84 3 100,750
1984–85 5 236,750
1985–86 1 19,500
Total 14 980,400

The figures for the Welsh tourist board (which is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Wales) are as follows:

Year Number of centres Amount
1980–81 1 150,000
1982–83 1 100,000
1984–85 1 69,186
Total 3 319,186

Comparable figures are not available from the Scottish and Northern Ireland tourist boards which are the responsibility respectively of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

In addition all five statutory tourist boards promote the conference industry through their general marketing activities but the amount of this assistance is not separately quantifiable in all cases.

Conference centre facilities can be assisted under certain other schemes operated by the Department of the Environment and the territorial departments where they satisfy the necessary criteria.