HC Deb 14 July 1992 vol 211 c641W
Mr. Bowis

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the London Forum.

Mr. Howard

In the Conservative Manifesto for the general election the Government undertook to convene a private sector forum to promote London internationally. I can now announce the Government's proposals in more detail.

The members of the forum will be drawn from the private sector. We intend to convene a first-class chairman and members, totalling about 12 in all, who can bring their entrepreneurial and presentational expertise to the business of promoting London.

The key functions of the forum will be to promote London internationally with a view to maximising business investment and growth in the capital, and to expanding London's role as a centre for tourism and culture. The forum will also wish to become involved in significant developments to maintain its position as one of the world's leading capital cities.

To drive this work forward, the forum will need to be supported by a strong chief executive backed by a small but high calibre team of staff. Private enterprise in London will benefit from the activities of the forum, and it will be appropriate for the forum to look to the private sector for its funding.

The forum will need to establish strong working relationships with business organisations in London, with training and enterprise councils and with existing bodies charged with arts and tourism responsibilities, particularly the London tourist board and the British Tourist Authority. It will also need to co-operate closely with local authorities and other public sector bodies in London. As well as informal links with all these bodies, it will need to establish a formal mechanism for consulting key organisations on a regular basis. A consultative group comprising all the key bodies will be set up for this purpose.

I will be taking forward these proposals for the forum over the summer, in consultation with key organisations with an interest in promoting London. A further announcement will be made in the autumn.