TUESDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2001 _________ Members present: Mr Martyn Jones, in the Chair Mr Martin Caton Mr Huw Edwards Mr Richard Livsey Mr Elfyn Llwyd Mrs Betty Williams _________ MEMORANDUM SUBMITTED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WALES EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES RT HON PAUL MURPHY, a Member of the House, Secretary of State for Wales, MR BRIAN WILSON, a Member of the House, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, DR KIM HOWELLS, a Member of the House, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry, MR ALISTAIR HOWIE, Head of International Tourism Branch and MR KEITH GIBBINS, Head of Films Branch, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, examined. Chairman 261. Order, order. Thank you very much for coming, Secretary of State and colleagues. It is groundbreaking to have Ministers from other Departments and we are pleased to see you here today and also the officials from DCMS. We understand that the Minister could not come at short notice and we accept that. We are grateful that you will be able to answer our questions on that area of interest. Perhaps you could begin by introducing your team for the record, Secretary of State? (Mr Murphy) Thank you very much for asking us along to talk to you today about these important matters. I shall be answering questions on the role for my Office in promoting Wales abroad and my colleague, Mr Brian Wilson, who is the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, an honorary Welshman, will be answering questions which touch on his Department's responsibilities. Dr Kim Howells, Member of Parliament for Pontypridd, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry, will cover matters related to DTI. I am also joined by Mrs Alison Jackson, who is Head of my Office, Mr Alistair Howie, Head of International Tourism Branch of the DCMS who will cover tourism issues and Mr Keith Gibbins, Head of Films Branch in the DCMS, who will cover questions relating to films and to broadcasting. 262. Most of our witnesses have suggested that Wales does not enjoy a high profile overseas and that the overseas perception of Wales is often distorted, stereotyped and out of date. In fact it was complaints such as this which led us to look at the issue in the first place. Do you agree, and if so, why do you think this is? (Mr Murphy) If we compare how the world looks at Scotland and at Ireland, because of the size of those two countries and, I suspect, also, so far as Ireland is concerned because of the diaspora which is enormous in the United States alone, the profile of those countries is inevitably higher than a small country such as ours. I do believe that is changing. It is changing for a number of reasons. One, because of the international reputation of Wales in terms of our industrial development - and I know in a sense it may be ironic to say that at the moment with what has occurred as far as Corus is concerned and the redundancies there, but all of us know that the inward investment which has come to Wales over the last 20 years, particularly from Japan, but many other countries as well, has meant that we do enjoy a profile in those countries where we did not have them before. Secondly, since devolution there has been an increased awareness about the fact that the United Kingdom is made up of different countries. The National Assembly, which I believe you have already been to and talked about these matters, is heightening the profile of Wales to a very significant degree. You are absolute right to say that has been the case in the past: the general point I make is that I think it is now changing. (Mr Wilson) I would endorse everything that Paul has said. I would say that from my experience, both in this job and previously as Trade Minister travelling to a lot of embassies abroad, there is certainly no lack of willingness on their part to promote the constituent parts of the United Kingdom, whether Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales or the English regions. I can offer a fairly long list of specifically Welsh events which take place. For instance, at the weekend I was in Cairo and because I knew I was coming here, I asked if they did anything Welsh. In the same way that they did a St Andrew's Day event, they did a St David's Day event. Where there are specific trade missions from any part of the UK, including Wales, then they will lay on exactly the same level of facility. A lot of this has to do with the level of pro-activity on the part of Wales and I, like Paul, would certainly see the creation of the Assembly as an opportunity maybe to tailor the service which the diplomatic posts abroad give to Wales more to Wales' own view of itself in the present day. I am absolutely confident and shall try to help to ensure that if Wales wants a different type of image and presentation to the world then the whole British Foreign Office and the whole range of diplomatic services is at its disposal. I am not quite sure I agree with the premise of the question. Every time I get on a plane I see a commercial for the Welsh Development Agency, which seems to me to give Wales a head start in an extremely influential, opinion forming sector on the attractions of Wales as a destination for inward investment. 263. That is actually a very good point. Those of us who occasionally travel abroad see these adverts and they are very good indeed. (Dr Howells) I agree with Brian Wilson. I completely disagree with this premise; I think it is a nonsense. It is typical of the way we whinge constantly about our identity and where we are and who knows about us. I have a hellish job in DTI and I had to go recently to Los Angeles to talk to film companies about intellectual property rights, which is a big issue because kids like mine are downloading Napster files and DVDs and they are worried about the flows of revenue to film makers and the record industry, song writers and so on. I had to go to meet one of the biggest chief executives in Hollywood. When I walked into his office he strode towards me held out his hand and said "You're Welsh, right?". I said yes and he said "Catherine Zeta Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Catatonia, Stereophonics, big bands, big acts. Being Welsh is OK by me". We ought to remember this. We might not be able to play rugby very well any more, but we are a pretty famous nation. Mr Llwyd 264. May I suggest that story is memorable because he was a one-off? (Dr Howells) No, I do not come across that at all, wherever I go. Sometimes you have to draw a map to show people where Wales is, that is absolutely true, but I suspect it would be the same with a lot of other places. Mrs Williams 265. I am very interested in what Mr Wilson said about Cairo and St David's Day. Could you expand a little bit on what you were told? (Mr Wilson) The basic point was that it is a large embassy, it has the facilities to hold receptions and the decision was taken to hold a specifically Welsh reception which would be directed at Egyptian business people who have links with Wales, potential inward investors, people who trade with Wales and also of course with the Welsh community in Egypt. That would be a fairly characteristic event. It was quite interesting in that specific embassy that the venue for that kind of event is a former ballroom built by Lord Kitchener in days of imperial glory. That is in the process of being converted into a much more commercial unit in the embassy where there will be displays and opportunities for various organisations to make more direct contact with people walking in off the street. The point was specifically made to me that that facility is available to organisations like the WDA, like Locate in Scotland. There is an absolute even-handedness of access for promotional events and materials to Wales, to Scotland, increasingly because of the RDAs to the English regions and to Northern Ireland. It is just essential that these opportunities are grasped. Certainly no distinction is made by the embassies in my experience. There are many of these events at embassies around the world and I can certainly provide a list of embassies which have held St David's Day events and other specifically Welsh events. If there are places where you think they should be happening and where there is a particular Welsh focus, then we can do something about that. 266. What I am trying to establish is whether what you heard and saw was sufficient or would you as a Minister from the UK Government improve those arrangements? (Mr Wilson) There are two answers to that. I have covered one already, that if the Welsh agencies and the Assembly do not think there is enough being done in a specific place then they make that case to the embassy and my guess is they would get a very positive response. The other point which is worth bearing in mind is that in order to serve Wales or to serve Scotland, embassies do not have to have little labels on services which say Wales or Scotland. A fantastic range of services is provided by our embassies and consuls, this unrivalled network all over the world; it is part of the strength of the United Kingdom that we can provide that range of services in virtually every country of the world. These are open to the whole of the United Kingdom. I always make the point in Scotland that the choice is having 160 countries, over 200 diplomatic posts where Scottish businessmen can access the services of the UK embassies, consular services, the commercial services in particular and we do that as part of the United Kingdom and it is exactly the same story for companies in Wales. It is not specific to Wales, but Wales is part of it. The alternative to that is to have half a dozen embassies up a side street in Tokyo, Paris and two or three other places. That would not be a very healthy alternative. Mr Edwards 267. Far from disagreeing with the premise, in a way you have actually confirmed the premise. What you mentioned was St David's Day, which in a way is a stereotypical event. You said that they put on Welsh events on St David's Day. Do the embassies specifically put on English events on St George's Day? Or do they assume that these events are worthy the whole year round? (Mr Wilson) In saying it, I recognise that St David's Day is a stereotypical event. It would be entirely wrong to imply that is all they do. Where I come from has stereotypical events as well and sometimes that is an asset and sometimes it is an irritation. It certainly does not imply that the only time embassies do anything for Scotland is on Burns Night or St Andrew's Day, any more that it implies the only time they do anything for Wales is on St David's Day. The services which I have referred to and particularly the services given to trade missions are available 365 days of the year and are utilised in that way. To be fair, it is not up to the ambassador in Cairo to say St David's Day is the wrong image for Wales, we should make a special effort some other day. It is up to this Committee or the Welsh Assembly or the WDA to say we want to get away from leeks and rugby and get onto microchips and Catherine Zeta Jones and we definitely do not want it on St David's Day. Mr Edwards: That is precisely why we are doing this inquiry of course. Let us hope that is the result. Mr Llwyd 268. May I refer to the document we have received in evidence and in particular to a speech by you on 19 October in Bruges? How does this kind of thing help promote or indeed assist in the international profile of Wales? I quote, "Now, many nationalists would counter that theirs is a civic and inclusive nationalism. But I have to say that I regard their desire to put an international frontier between England and Wales as justifiable only in terms that would satisfy the faith and language nationalists". That is a questionable, emotive and nonsensical couple of statements there. How does that kind of stuff assist? I always thought that traditionally, when Ministers were abroad, they tended to keep any internal criticisms for when they got back home. How does that help the international listener? (Mr Murphy) You must read into it what you read into it. Clearly I was referring in a general sense to the whole business of nationalism, as I was describing in that speech, which the vast bulk of people in Wales would agree with me on. I was not specifically referring to your own political party there, but referring rather to the concepts which I believe would not suit us well in Wales. It would not be unusual for a member of the United Kingdom Government who believes in the United Kingdom as a place which should retain its statehood to say that outside. Certainly it did not seem to me something which in any way would be wrong because that is the view of the vast bulk of people in Wales and it is also the view of the British Government. We were at a symposium which was talking about the whole business of regional government in Europe and how far regional government should go. I rather suspect that the bulk of people who would have been listening to that would agree that although they believed in strong regional government, including in Belgium, the bulk of them would not agree with the breakup of the Belgian state. 269. Read in context, looking at the following paragraph, it says that you do not regard English people as foreigners in Wales. Heavens above, nor do I and I hope no right thinking person would. What is the point of making that statement? What is the point of making that kind of statement if not to create a divisive atmosphere? How does that promote Wales? (Mr Murphy) I was saying there that there are undoubtedly people who do believe that English people are foreigners in Wales and that is an argument which I would completely and utterly reject. Clearly there are people who believe that Wales should be wholly independent, should be cut off from the rest of the United Kingdom and therefore regard people who are not Welsh as being someone from a foreign country. We would be burying our heads in the sands if we did not think that was the case. I was simply saying that particular point of view is alien to me, is alien to the Government and is unquestionably alien to the bulk of people who live in Wales. Chairman 270. Where does promoting Wales abroad fit into the Wales Office's SDA? (Mr Murphy) There is a case for both the Wales Office and the other offices, NIO and the Scotland Office, to play their role in partnership with the National Assembly in ensuring that our profile abroad is much higher than it has been traditionally in the past. In specific terms, that means that I have visited the Republic of Ireland with the First Minister, to discuss Objective 1 funding, to discuss their economic policies, the relationships between the Republic of Ireland and Wales in the new dispensation. In addition to that I visited, as I was reminded rather colourfully just now by Mr Llwyd, Bruges some months ago where I took part in an exceptionally interesting seminar. I went also to Spain some time ago at the invitation there of our ambassador and others to take part in a conference on devolution and to see how Spanish devolution developed over the last 20-odd years since the demise of Franco and what lessons we could learn in the United Kingdom Government and in Wales from such developments; indeed they were very useful. In addition to that I go to Brussels where we now have an Assembly office in that city. We have had a Wales centre for some time now. That partnership in Government between ourselves here in London and in Cardiff can be continued abroad. It is part of my role to ensure that that profile which you referred to at the beginning is made as high as possible as a consequence of my ministerial visits and my colleagues' visits abroad. I do hasten to add that much of what is done is done in very close partnership with the National Assembly and the First Minister. Mr Livsey 271. Both Scotland and Ireland appear to enjoy much higher international profiles than Wales. Is this solely due to the greatest scale of emigration from those countries, especially to North America? I think I am right in saying that there are 40 million people of Irish extraction in the States. Or is there something we in Wales could do to emulate their success? (Mr Murphy) I am sure you will recall that one of the members of this Committee, Mr Ruane, has on a number of occasions raised the issue of the Welsh diaspora; other members have as well. In a sense it is the forgotten diaspora. Those of us who studied and taught Welsh history over the years know full well that there is a very rich Welsh historical interest in the United States, for instance where people who went to work in the pits and steel works in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and elsewhere, where indeed people still go to Gemanfegany[?], where there are still chapels in Wales. But it is not the same as the Irish or indeed the Scottish emigration because of the scale of numbers as much as anything else. When I was Minister of State in Northern Ireland I had to visit the United States quite regularly and you are quite right in saying that there are those people in America, 40 million of them, who claim that they have some sort of Irish descent. It clearly is an important element in that country but there is a huge Irish dimension which we could not possibly match because of the size and history and political complexity of those issues. Another issue of course inevitably is religion. The bulk of the Irish who went to the United States were Catholic and they kept their identity very often because of living in close Catholic communities. There is a lot to compete with in that sense. We can tap into that successfully. When I was a Northern Ireland Minister I happened to go to Washington on St David's Day and the then Chairman of the Select Committee on Administration of this House, who is now the First Minister, and I met at a Welsh tourist function in Washington which was trying to ensure that as many people as possible in the capital city of the United States were able to understand that Wales is a very good place to visit. You will also recall that it was not that long ago when the North American Institute of Travel Writers came to Cardiff and to Wales, the first time they had been to the United Kingdom was to come to Wales, and there was an enormous interest by those writers from Canada and from the United States into what Wales could offer as a tourist destination. It is just an example of how that awareness is changing now, but we can never hope to compete with the Irish and I shall ask Brian Wilson to talk about the Scottish dimension. I do think it is something we can justifiably build upon and as a consequence of that, as Kim has said, all the other things we now do by way of the entertainment industry for example do heighten that process. 272. As far as I know, in the States there are roughly 2.5 million people of Welsh extraction; certainly some members of my own family emigrated from Wales at the beginning of the last century and there are significant pockets of Welsh people in Pennsylvania and in Ohio and places like that. Do you in Scotland target communities of that kind and are there a lot of Scots people in America? How do you go about it? Our perception is that Wales is not very clearly branded, whereas Scotland clearly is. (Mr Wilson) There is a very significant difference between the Irish community in America and the Scottish diaspora. The Irish community historically grouped together and remained in specific cities and geographical areas and operated very much as a community and as a political force. That has persisted to the present day. The Scottish diaspora did not do that. It was much more footloose and it spread out throughout America. There are very few places in the United States - Canada is a bit different - you can go to and say it is a Scottish community. It has not evolved like that at all. The Scottish recognition factor in North America and indeed worldwide is based much more on icons of Scottishness than on the way the Irish are in that they are operating as a diaspora who have maintained their identity. This is where there is a dichotomy between what Huw Edwards was commenting on and this image. In the same way as the Welsh might not like to be tied to St David's Day, there are many people in Scotland who do not particularly like to be tied to tartan and pipes and castles, all the things people recognise Scotland through, but they are incredibly strong recognition factors, there is no doubt about that. It would be very foolish not to use that as a point of access, both in promoting tourism, but also in generating an empathy with inward investors. I would say that these have been tools rather than the reason for any success Scotland has had for instance in attracting inward investment. Much more important is the effectiveness of the inward investment agency than the fact that there is some strong Scottish image which automatically draws people back to their roots in Scotland. I just do not think that is true. Of course you can draw parallels, because it is all very well talking about the Scottish identity in North America, but when you get to other places where you are looking for inward investment like Taiwan, Japan and so on, then that does not really operate as a factor at all. That suggests that what is far more important is the effectiveness of the agency rather than any inbuilt advantage through ethnic identity. I would challenge the premise of the question, but I do not think Wales loses out because of that factor. If Wales does lose out at all - and I am not saying it does - then you have to look for other reasons than simply that it does not have as high an image in the world as Scotland and Ireland. It is a wee bit over defensive and there are parts of the world where Wales has a very strong image and cities in North America where Wales has a very strong image. (Mr Murphy) On the diaspora side, it is interesting that when President Kennedy became President of the United States he was hailed as the first Irish American President. In reality of course he was not. A large number of Presidents of the United States came from Ulster, from Protestant Irish stock, but they had integrated much more successfully into Protestant stock in North America which was very different. There is another example. The other point too is that lots of Welsh people emigrated to the United States and actually came back. My great grandparents for instance went to Philadelphia and spent a year there, took ten children with them and returned; I am delighted to say, otherwise I would not be here in front of you this morning. (Mr Wilson) In fact the biggest ethnic group in the United States describe themselves not as Scots or Irish but as Ulster Scots. If there were some direct correlation between the size of the diaspora and economic success back home, then the most booming place in Europe would be Northern Ireland. (Dr Howells) If you go back 20 years, this huge diaspora from Ireland did not mean very much in terms of the Irish economy. It was one of the very poorest in Europe, in desperate conditions, I can recall some of them very vividly. What Ireland did was re-invent itself. It decided to take its own economy by the scruff of the neck, it had very clear strategic overviews, it looked very carefully at what was happening in Wales, in terms of the activities of our various agencies, it learned much better than Wales did about how best to sell yourself as a location for inward investment and it did it brilliantly. That is the reason. It has very little to do with the diaspora. They may well use connections. Brussels is full of the sweetest talking Irishmen you could ever find in the world. They take it very seriously and I know, comparing notes with the Secretary of State, that I have been ambushed many times in Brussels, have gone in and somebody has talked to me for three quarters of an hour about rugby and then said "And what's this nonsense now you want to talk about?". And the meeting is over and you come out of there bamboozled by this wonderful facility that some of these Irish people in Brussels have. We ought to be learning from that. 273. I totally agree with that and there are many sweet talking Irishmen all over the world who are doing a great job for their country. I just say to Mr Wilson that your ingenious invention of golf and banking and insurance promotions on the back of that and a little bit of whisky thrown in is a terrific brand image for Scotland, which is something we have to emulate in Wales in some other way. Your memorandum, Secretary of State, lists direct links between Wales and only a handful of regions abroad. Could this be part of the problem? It is no big deal for you and the First Secretary to go to Ireland, very pleasant though that it is, or perhaps one or two visits to the motor regions, but there is only really mention of New South Wales and one part of Argentina, which is well known because the Welsh settled there. Is the problem something to do with the fact that we do not have a proper international airport with flights going all over the place and we have to travel out of Wales very often. People do not land in Wales very often and get an immediate impression. (Mr Murphy) It obviously comes back to the size of Wales but that is unquestionably changing, for example on the awareness by way of arriving by aeroplane. There is no doubt in my mind that Cardiff international airport is improving weekly in terms of the services it offers, in terms of the ability to go through the hub at Amsterdam anywhere in the world really. We need to look at that and I am sure the Assembly are looking very carefully at the transport links between the airport and Cardiff for example. That is important too. I think that it is particularly important to link up with the motor regions. There is a limit to how many places Wales can twin with; I suppose you can only have two twins really. There is unquestionably a linkage between Catalonia, where I was privileged to go some months ago and which is undoubtedly a motor region, not just within Spain itself but within the whole of the European Union and with the other three. That is sometimes reflected in how our local authorities link with towns and cities and villages within those particular regions of Europe. Since we are part of the European Union it does seem highly sensible to me to ensure that Wales compares notes with other regions within the European Union on how best to see itself developing. I have no doubt that as time goes by, and as the National Assembly settles down to be a part of everyday life in Wales and as people outside recognise its significance - and I am sure Brian will have something to say about how the Assembly works with the Foreign Office - there will be a complexity of arrangements which means that lots and lots of other countries will find that it is a useful link to have to come to Wales. If you are looking at our industries and our industrial development, there is a huge number of American firms in Wales now and that probably is the unknown biggest link. Everybody thinks about Japan, of course, because of the Japanese inward investment, but it is true to say that the biggest single overseas investor in Wales is the United States. For instance, the appointment by the American Ambassador of an official representative from his embassy in Cardiff is a very, very welcome move. It is not a consul general but it is something which does mean that there is a specific Welsh link in the embassy here in London and the person concerned goes to Wales quite a lot and talks to the Assembly and its officials because of that economic link alone. There are also cultural links as we have discussed, but it is going to get better. Chairman: We have in fact met that person informally and it was a very useful meeting. Mrs Williams 274. Could each of you tell us what your Department does to ensure that your own staff who are responsible for promoting Britain abroad are familiar with Welsh issues, in particular the devolution settlement? Do you have a programme of exchanges or secondments with the Assembly, for example? If not, why not? Would you consider it? (Dr Howells) At DTI we have a very proactive policy of ensuring that our officials work very closely with officials who are under the auspices of the Welsh Assembly, whether it is WDA or anybody else. We actively encourage officials to become involved in exchanges and simply to speak to people on a day to day basis, so that if, for example, we might be taking a trade mission somewhere, they ensure that the firms we have on our database who might be in Wales and who could be interested in such a trade mission are informed well in advance of the possibilities there, the financial possibilities, the administrative protocol and that if they want they can be part of that mission or they can be represented in some other form. We are very keen that at every level there are those kind of links between the Department and between the new and older agencies and functions within Wales. 275. What about secondments? (Dr Howells) Yes; indeed. We are very interested in secondments. We have some already and we are looking for secondments from Wales into the DTI and from our officials into Wales. We think it is a very good way of operating. (Mr Wilson) The Foreign Office has a very proactive policy to make sure that there is an awareness of devolution around the world. Speaking from my previous jobs, when I travelled quite extensively, because I came from Scotland they spoke to me about this. There was a very, very keen interest both on the diplomatic side but also on the commercial side of embassies and consulates. Long before I was there the FCO set up a new internal department to deal specifically with the implications of devolution for the Department's work and one of the manifestations of that has been to encourage diplomats, including very senior ones like the ambassador in Washington when they are back in the UK to visit the devolved administrations and to get first hand experience of them. We have been approached by the National Assembly for Wales about getting Assembly officials into diplomatic posts and that is a process which we evolve. At the moment the focus is on getting someone from the Welsh Assembly into UKREP in Brussels which is obviously important. There is no reason why it should not happen in other posts as well. There is also a proactive role for the Welsh agencies. I can just give you an example. Scottish Trade International over a year ago appointed someone to Paris but instead of opening an office in Paris, what they did was put that person into the British Embassy in Paris. They are working there primarily on promoting Scottish trade, but they are also part of the unified UK effort. I should have thought this was something worth looking at. To me it is daft to set up a separate Scottish Office or separate Welsh Office in these places when you have the whole resource of the British Embassy there which can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a Welsh or a Scottish or a Northern Ireland representative in these places. The other thing which has been done is a proactive approach by the Foreign Office to try to get ambassadors in from abroad based in London out into the devolved areas so that they have a greater understanding of what devolution is about and that they are seeing all the constituent parts of the UK and not just London. There is a proactive programme but as in everything else if there are other suggestions of how we can take the message on more effectively then I shall be very interested to hear them. 276. Are you not able to give us any timescale for these proactive programmes this morning? (Mr Wilson) Everything I have said is ongoing, it is happening now. Many of the visits I referred to have already taken place. UKREP is regarded as a priority and there have been a couple of near misses because these things have to be done on merit. You cannot start applying quotas - or I do not think we should start applying quotas - but clearly a factor in making appointments to UKREP and other key posts would be to try to give that a geographical spread and particularly representation from the devolved administrations. 277. So you would like the idea of secondments. (Mr Wilson) Full appointments would probably be better but secondments are also an option which maybe in the short term could bridge any gap there might be. (Mr Murphy) It might be useful if Mr Howie and Mr Gibbins could mention from the DCMS point of view the points so far as their Department is concerned. (Mr Howie) The DCMS is in constant dialogue with colleagues in the National Assembly. We have structured meetings twice a year with Assembly colleagues and those from the Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland. Coincidentally one of those is going to take place on Thursday this week at which we shall discuss these things of joint interest. To give an example, we are each setting up IT systems which we wish to be compatible with one another. That will be one of the items we discuss this week. Similarly, Janet Anderson, the Minister, is arranging to meet her colleagues from Wales and Scotland very shortly, to discuss tourism policy matters. Our Arts Division also speaks to and has meetings with National Assembly colleagues on international arts and cultural matters. (Mr Gibbins) Throughout our Department officials have regular contact with their opposite numbers so almost everyone in the Department will know who their opposite number is in the Welsh Assembly. I gather at a senior level DCMS officials have quarterly meetings with opposite numbers from the Welsh Assembly. There is a continuous dialogue really, particularly on European issues. On secondments, the Department is very keen to encourage secondments both in and out of the Department. I am not aware of any with the Welsh Assembly, but that is just my personal knowledge. We are a very small Department of course, one of the smallest in Whitehall, but I am sure the Department will be keen to have secondments to and from the National Assembly. Mr Caton 278. May I take up something you told us, Mr Wilson, which was confirmed when we visited the National Assembly in Cardiff, that diplomats from various postings have started to come to visit the National Assembly and learn more about post-devolution Wales. It did seem to us that was on a fairly ad hoc basis and often at the initiative of the individual diplomats. I wonder whether it could not be made more systematic and particularly focusing on those postings which are most important to Wales in economic development and cultural and other terms. (Mr Wilson) It has been encouraged - and I cannot comment whether individual visits were on the initiative of the particular diplomat or whether it was as a result of encouragement. I should certainly be willing to look at the point you make and now that we are a couple of years into the process maybe have a more systematic attempt to remind diplomats that this is something which they should do and which we should be very happy to facilitate. I am assured that there has been a proactive programme of encouraging these contacts. I am very happy to refresh it. 279. A lot of the evidence we have taken, including the oral evidence from the First Minister, has focused on the idea that Wales does not get its fair share of inward investment, overseas trade and so on when compared to the rest of the UK. British Trade International told us that they had no formula for assessing whether different regions of the UK were getting their fair share of inward investment. Do you think such a formula can be devised or does the Government have one? (Dr Howells) It would be very difficult to devise such a formula. You can devise tables and say Wales received œX billion of inward investment last year and the year before that and so on. I shall give you an example of why I think it is difficult. What has happened in recent years is that I consider the really valuable investment has been going into the south east and the Thames corridor and that is because we are getting knowledge-driven industries going in there. Their success or failure is quite difficult to measure. They are going there for all kinds of reasons and it comes back to the point I made earlier. All this has to do with how Wales presents itself in terms of its education, in terms of its communications, in terms of its skills, its industrial infrastructure and so on. If Wales presents itself as attractive enough, it will not have difficulty in attracting inward investment. After all, Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is only 160 miles from London. Newcastle is twice as far, Edinburgh and Glasgow are much further again. Geographically Ireland is way out on the fringe of the European Union. So we are very, very close to some of the biggest markets anywhere in the world. I do not think we fulfil our potential in that respect; we do not have a strategic and sharp enough view of what we have to do as a country in order to attract that inward investment and grow our own businesses. Remember this. The most vibrant part of the whole of the British economy is along the Thames corridor. All of us in this room who live in Wales know it and see it as we have seen those headquarters and plants spread from the west of London out towards Bristol and luckily over the Channel and along the M4 corridor. There is no excuse for it really. We are not geographically isolated. What we are is still confused about what makes economic success and in my view it is a job you have to do yourself. Do not expect Westminster to do it. Those days are long gone. I think that we have to re-invent ourselves, create the infrastructure which is going to make us irresistible as far as inward investment in Wales is concerned. If we cannot do that, then we will continue to bumble along in the way that we have done for the past 30 years. 280. I hear what you say and agree with it. However, clearly British Government and agencies do have a role to play, that is the very reason you are here today. From your own submission we learn that Invest-UK attracted 757 projects to the UK in 1999-2000 but only 45 of those came to Wales. It is those sorts of figures which make people think that perhaps we are not getting a fair share and perhaps agencies like Invest-UK are not always pointing possible investors in our direction. (Dr Howells) I do not think that is true. I know it is not true from my own experience abroad. We have two DTI Ministers now who are from Wales; people may have noticed. Believe me, if we were trying to influence the way in which people made decisions about where they are going to come to, or where they are going to invest, then I suspect that even if I did it unconsciously, I would be leaning in favour of Wales. That is not the point. The point about the way in which our agencies work is that they are customer driven. There are places in Kent for example, much closer to London than Wales is, where they cannot get investors to go. Sometimes it is a factor X. Maybe it is to do with the way in which the economy has changed in that area. Maybe there are shadows of problems in the recent past hanging over them. In the end, you cannot push customers. I should love to see industry going to mid-Wales for example and down further into the west and into the north west of Wales, because their economies have hardly begun to scratch their potential. The reason they do not go there is because that is not where customers want to go. Somebody mentioned, quite properly in my view, the problem of not having a busy airport. We have a first class airport, but it is not a first division airport. If you look at the way in which Manchester, for example, has decided that it is going to be something more than a third tier airport, we ought to have learned from that. I notice, something which troubles me a great deal by the way, that Bristol airport now has a new terminal which is very nice, very good to travel out of, they have started to expand their destination base and we ought to be looking very, very carefully at these factors. Invest UK certainly do not discriminate between any areas. They will try to guide people to where we are strongest in terms of our skills bases and our education system. I do not think we play to our skills in Wales. Somebody said something to me the other day which started as a joke, "What do you have more of than anything else in Wales?". I said sheep. He said, "Where's your centre of wool and sheep excellence in terms of what you do with the products which come from sheep?". I had not thought about that before. We do not have one. We are hopeless at playing to our strengths and trading on our strengths. What we are looking for all the time is another big coal industry or another big steel industry which will somehow move in and transform the Welsh economy. It is not going to happen. A lot of those projects you mentioned are small, they are knowledge driven, they are computer based. Those are the ones which create employment and which are going to grow in the future and, much more importantly, are going to underpin economic achievement as far as this country is concerned. 281. From what you say about being customer driven, is it fair to say that you consider thinking in terms of fair shares for bits of the country is a wrong way of looking at it? (Dr Howells) Yes, it is a wrong way of looking at it. The idea of trying to shove a business into mid-Wales, a white van business for example, which might need excellent communications to deliver products bought through the internet; they would find it very difficult to make ends meet in mid-Wales with the state of the roads at the moment. We have to be realistic about this. We cannot tell people where to go. The world is full of footloose capital looking for a home, looking for the best returns on capital and if we do not understand that, if we assume that somehow we can force people to go here and force them to go there, the only way to do that would be to bribe them with huge amounts of money and we have seen with Valeo recently and other firms where that leads us. Mr Caton: I should like to open up the discussion about Valeo but we are actually coming to your Department to discuss the problems of Valeo later. Mr Edwards 282. We took evidence from Sir David Wright, the Chief Executive of British Trade International. He told us that whether British Trade International suggest a prospective investor goes to one part of the UK or another depends largely on that client's business needs. Where the DTI promotes Wales abroad, it tends to be as part of wider exercises promoting the UK as a whole. If Wales's profile is already lower than that of other countries in Great Britain, is there a danger that it is getting swamped in a UK-wide approach? (Dr Howells) If it is lower. I do not accept that premise. The profile is what you make it, that is what companies have to deal with every day of the week. If their profile drops, if their reputation declines, they are going to lose business. The very idea somehow that Sir David or anybody else is going to say they will not push them towards Wales because it does not have such a high profile, to me is just nonsense. Wales has done very well from inward investment over the past 20 years. One of its great strengths has been that it has a reputation still as somewhere where education is important. We have good communications west to east, lousy north to south. We are not far away from big markets. We are members of the European Union which is another very important one. May I say that I remember going to Taiwan to try to find out why the world's largest manufacturer of television tubes decided to locate in Lanarkshire and not in Cardiff next- door to the new glass factory which was going to supply all of its components. In other words, they were ready for the next 20 years to load glass products onto the backs of trucks and send them 400 miles to Lanarkshire to be put together. They said that when they got to Britain a Scottish Minister came to meet them at Glasgow airport. They said your Minister, who was a member of a different political party at the time, could not even be bothered to come out of the Welsh Office and cross the road to the Temple of Peace to meet them. They also told us that the whole of the package was very important. Locate in Scotland had put together a superb package which meant that they had room to expand, they had guaranteed good education for their children, very close links with universities and a lot of those were lacking at the time in the provision made by the WDA. If you are asking me why that company decided to locate in Scotland, it was not because of the higher profile of Scotland: Scotland were offering them a much better deal than they got in Wales. 283. I can assure you that the Committee did go to take evidence from Locate in Scotland as part of a previous inquiry and was very impressed with their approach. What would you therefore recommend the WDA does that it does not do already? (Dr Howells) First of all it has to be humble enough to learn from other agencies. I happen to think that WDA has done a very, very good job in balance over the past 20 years for Wales, but it still has a lot to learn and the world moves on. Its relationship with the Assembly at this point ought to give it enough creative drive to make those leaps forward. Now is the time to do it. If we let it go much longer, then do not forget this: there are now new regional development agencies in England and some of them are very big. Some of them have populations bigger than Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales put together and they are going to be big players in trying to attract footloose capital into their regions. We have a doubly difficult job at the moment. My view is that to look for dole-outs and subsidies from the Westminster Parliament would be the kiss of death. We have to be creative. We have to play to our strengths and realise we have a new competitive field in which we are involved. 284. If you were the Minister for Economic Development in Wales what would your priorities be? (Dr Howells) It would certainly be to try to continue the transformation of the Welsh economy and to make sure that we understand the significance of the great changes towards knowledge driven industries. I am not sure we have understood that yet. We are beginning to understand it. We have more universities per head of population than any other part of Europe. We do not use our universities in the way that we should as centres of excellence and innovation. We have a long way to go yet. We are still looking for quangos to save us. (Mr Wilson) To reinforce some of what Kim said, the figures quoted for Invest-UK are only a part of the story, or the Invest in Britain Bureau as it used to be. I would imagine the majority of projects which go to Wales, as in Scotland, are direct links between the inward investment agencies in Wales and Scotland and the companies; that they have been out in the field targeting their own companies. The role of Invest-UK is to attract investment to the UK generically and then make sure there is not wasteful competition between different parts of the UK. It is worth remembering that for these 20-odd years, in the case of Scotland 25 years, we have had the bonus of having an agency which is working specifically for Scotland as well as the UK effort and you have the same in Wales. So we are both well ahead of the field in terms of the combined effort to get inward investment into Scotland and Wales. The point Kim makes is very timely, because that is now changing, because of the RDAs in England. There is no future in complaining about the generic UK effort, increasingly it is going to be the value which is added by the regional or national agencies to that overall effort. May I very briefly comment on Mr Caton's question about making sure of an even spread of inward investment. It just is not possible because this is a buyer's market. In every one of these cases it is not only different parts of the UK which are possibly competing against one another but every one of these inward investors is coming to the UK or any part of the UK because we are part of Europe. Therefore we are competing against the rest of Europe every time to attract these inward investments. The idea that we can say Wales does not have its quota this year, would you mind going to Swansea, is a dream world and it just cannot happen. Every area within the UK and the UK as a whole has to fight its corner in a highly competitive market and that can only be done by the sheer professionalism of approach. Mr Llwyd 285. May I say I agree entirely with what Dr Howells said about the knowledge based industries. He has hit the nail on the head there. We can actually learn a lot from the Irish experience. There is a better linkup between industry and universities in Ireland and very often European funds come in as well. They are being creative in that regard. We do have some good universities in Wales which need to be brought closer into matters. Referring to what Dr Howells said earlier on that we should not wait for Westminster to do it, we have to do it ourselves, raise the profile and so on, in light of that is there a continuing role for the UK Government in promoting trade and investment or should the whole matter be transferred over to the Assembly and WDA? (Dr Howells) No, Brian Wilson has made it very clear and this is my personal view now, that the very idea that we should have to go to the expense of setting up what would essentially be trade missions or embassies throughout the world would be mad. We have some terrific embassies. We have less successful embassies as well in terms of the support they give to trade but generally we have some very good ones. We have to ride on the back of those. Whether we shall continue to do it in the way we have done in the past is hard to say. There is a lot to learn from the way in which Ireland has approached this and other areas, especially Catalonia. I know that when the Secretary of State went out there he was very impressed with the way they performed the very difficult trick of on the one hand being part of the image of Spain, which has this beautiful new logo since the Barcelona Olympics, it brands itself very well, it is an economy which is starting to run again very well now, so it rides that one, but it also says, hey, we are a very special place within that. I suspect that is the way to do it. We have had this discussion many times. In your own constituency people who worked at Trawsfynydd nuclear power station probably ran the most successful magnox that was run anywhere in the world for a very long time. It amazes me really that we can be so frivolous with the skills they have built up by assuming that it is quite right they should be dispersed and that there should not be a special targeted effort on perhaps a new role they could fulfil, but which calls upon those tremendous skills they have built up over that period. We have been very frivolous in the way we have used the skills, because we are one of the oldest industrial nations on earth. We ought really to play to our strengths and understand that we have a great reservoir there, if only we can tap it properly. 286. This question might have already been answered in part but may I ask it? Does British Trade International have any specific targets for promoting trade and investment in different parts of the UK as well as for increasing the total amount of overseas trade and inward investment? If it does not, should it? (Mr Wilson) I would question whether that is British Trade International's role because of the point I made earlier about there being a dual effort between British Trade International and the agencies which pre-dated devolution. I apologise but I inevitably refer back to the Scottish experience more than to my present role. For instance, Scottish Trade International, when I was there a couple of years ago, set a target to increase the number of exporters in Scotland to X thousand over a three-year period. That clearly is a job for Scottish Trade International, it is not a job for British Trade International. The same would be true in Wales. I think the answer to the question is no, that we can set UK targets and attain them but really this is added-value effort within the nations and regions which are more relevant to meeting specific targets there. All we can ensure at a UK level is even-handedness and to make sure that exactly the same opportunities and facilities are available to companies and individuals in every part of the UK. It is in that, if anybody feels aggrieved, that we should look at these complaints. Certainly in Scotland you would find an awful lot of companies who look mainly to the DTI and to British Trade International rather than to the Scottish agencies just because of the nature of their business and the places in which they do business. I am sure it is the same story in Wales. In general there is a pretty high satisfaction level in the service which is provided. 287. Following on that point and also referring to what Dr Howells said about wanting to see industries moving up to mid and north west Wales, where historically it has not been happening in any degree, surely imposing targets as such would assist because then that is a positive target to work to, is it not? (Mr Wilson) With respect, it is an internal Welsh matter. The point of contact of the great majority of companies which might go to these parts of Wales would be with the WDA rather than with Invest-UK. When I was a Scottish Industry Minister I asked Locate in Scotland to set up a rural section specifically in order to try to counter this problem. It was a very divisive point within Scotland and there was this great image of Locate in Scotland doing a wonderful job, bringing in industries, but there were huge parts of Scotland which said they had never seen any of it. Therefore we tried to counteract by saying there should be a refocus and they should remember there were parts of Scotland which had never had any inward investment. That has been quite successful. It had nothing to do with the UK level, it was entirely something which was done within Scotland. (Dr Howells) I have drawn a little map for myself about the way the system works and if you look at the structure we have British Trade International and one of its arms is Trade Partners UK and they deal with outward investment and trade development which is something we have not spoken about yet. It is how Welsh firms find markets abroad. Then we have Invest-UK which deals with inward investment; it was formerly the Invest in Britain Bureau. Welsh Trade International is the devolved partner of both those arms. There is a strategic committee which is called the Committee on Overseas Promotion (COP), and the WDA are members of that committee. These arguments, theoretically at least, ought to be fought out within that structure. I think Brian Wilson is right. There is BTI, just like its counterparts in Spain or Italy or Germany or France, which is saying we are a good place to come to. Within that they ought to be able to say that if someone is looking for a rural location with a good university, think about Bangor, or wherever. That is the way it ought to work. I am pretty confident it is working that way, but then we come back to those impediments I spoke about earlier, our communications and so on. 288. That is very helpful; thank you very much. One final question for the Secretary of State. In your opinion, should targets for inward investment in Wales be incorporated into the Wales Office's Service Delivery Agreement? (Mr Murphy) No, I think that what my colleagues have said is absolutely accurate. We have to be very careful about putting in artificial targets, which that could well be. The general way in which we approach investment, which Kim has just referred to in detail, in partnership with the Assembly, is by far the best. I am not so sure that targets are the answer. Mr Livsey 289. Can we turn to tourism now? We were told by the British Tourist Authority that only four per cent of visitors to the UK come to Wales. In fact it is actually only two per cent if you exclude those entering the country via Irish Sea routes. I certainly do not think that figure is acceptable. Do you? (Mr Howie) It is a low figure compared to the numbers coming into Britain generally which is 25.4 million per year. But the British Tourist Authority is working as an equal strategic partner with the Wales Tourist Board to increase the awareness of Wales and to enhance its image. As far as I am aware the Wales Tourist Board think that BTA is doing a good job. I can say that because I have been involved in a review of the BTA and the first stage was published in January this year. The Wales Tourist Board said that it was getting value for money from the BTA. They are working well together but much more needs to be done to try to educate more people to what Wales has to offer. 290. The Assembly itself now has responsibility for the Wales Tourist Board. It has had its budget increased in its long-term projections quite significantly. Are you in fact involved intimately with the Assembly in trying to promote Wales, because they do have a tourism strategy? (Mr Howie) We are involved inasmuch as we are in touch with Assembly colleagues to see what they are doing and to tell them what the tourism policies in England are. It is the British Tourist Authority which has direct contact with the Wales Tourist Board, so we work through them. 291. Most of us in Wales feel that a lot of tourists spend time in London, Bath and Stratford-upon-Avon. If you actually added all those up, it would make the number of visitors going to Wales look extremely insignificant. What are you trying to do about that to try to redirect tourists in our direction? (Mr Howie) What you are saying is true. The majority of overseas visitors to this country come to London in the first instance and it is when they get here that it is the job of the BTA and others to educate them as to the other interesting attractions and scenery and everything else that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has to offer. Whereas 50 per cent or so come to London on their first visit to Britain, repeat visitors tend to go further afield. It is there that we manage to capture visitors to go outside London. 292. We had a visit from a lot of travel writers from America to Cardiff not so long ago. They were very enlightened and they also got value for money. It come back to the issue of the airport. Undoubtedly barriers are put up by international airlines that you cannot use Cardiff airport, in spite of it having a runway which is perfectly adequate to take jumbo jets etcetera. When is this cartel going to be bust which is preventing proper international travel coming to Wales? Are you working on that? (Dr Howells) Certainly. As a resident of Pontypridd, I am appalled at the way in which our tourism industry has been run over the years. It has been run by amateurs. Without becoming personal, it is literally true that the people appointed to chair the Tourist Board in Wales have been amateurs. It reached the heights of absurdity when we had a fantastically expensive advertising campaign, where we had people like Anthony Hopkins standing on deserted hillsides or deserted beaches where it looked as though it was about to rain. They were lovely pictures but who is that going to attract, apart from anoraks? It is not going to attract anyone. The fact is that it has been run for the Cardiff North literati who have some idea of what Wales is and they have wasted every opportunity. The truth is of course that Wales ought to be one of the tourist gems of Europe. It is one of the most stunning countries anywhere in western Europe and we have not even begun to tap its potential because it has been run by amateurs. Mr Caton 293. I agree with everything Dr Howells has said. May I go back to what Mr Howie said. It may be why we have one of the problems. You are saying we get the tourists here and then it is up to the tourist boards to send them out. Do we not need to be tackling the tour operators? We had this in evidence from the British Tourist Authority: the London experience is often not a good one for tourists. The medium-priced hotels are not very good, everything costs a heck of a lot more. Should we not be looking for the first part of the tour package to be outside London, then they can finish off their holiday for two or three days in London? Let us get them out to Wales and to the other beautiful parts of Britain first and let them finish off in London. (Mr Howie) Ideally that is what we should all like to happen. We are promoting regional spread to try to get people across the country because London is quite congested with tourists. The BTA are using their influence with operators to do this and in fact they may have shown you some of the brochures which they have produced, which are very positive images of Wales along with England and Scotland. I think they are working hard to try to get people to think of travelling outside London. I have to say that I was in the United States at the BTA's office a couple of months ago and it was quite clear that people over there, and I am sure in many other countries, do not quite understand the composition of Britain. They have heard of London, they might have heard of Stratford, but they have not heard of many other places. It is important to get them over here in the first place. It is then on the second or third visit that we are more likely to get them to go further afield. That is the reality of it. Mr Llwyd 294. With respect, should it not be happening over there? Should there not be a promotion video for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales? Surely it is when people are planning their holidays. If I were to fly to the States, let me tell you now that I am not a very orderly person, but I would not land in Washington and then decide where I am going. I would have some inkling of where I am going before I go there. What you have just said sounds a bit strange to me. (Mr Howie) If I may explain further. The BTA are certainly promoting all parts of Britain and their tourist literature abroad does contain all that and also they have a very sophisticated website, which is accessed in 27 different overseas countries in the languages of these countries. That will give detailed information of all parts of the country, not just London. What I was trying to say was that despite all that information, people usually for the first time want to come to see the main sites. We probably all do when we go to countries for the first time. It is only after getting into the country that you realise there are many more aspects of it you would like to visit. It is not that it is getting neglected in any way, in fact it is quite the reverse, Wales is getting promoted quite extensively. 295. Does that not fly in the face of the evidence we have that most American holidaymakers have one holiday in Europe and that is it? That is once in a lifetime. The figures show that, do they not? That tends to undermine what you have just said. (Mr Howie) That might go for Americans but it does not necessarily go for Europeans. 296. We are talking about the States now. This is the example of the States. (Mr Howie) If that is what the figures say. It is not saying they exclusively come here (London) because the Americans come to Britain mostly for the tradition and Wales offers plenty of that. It is the question of trying to capture them and trying to get them to travel as far as possible on their first visit. 297. With respect, it is rather complacent to say that. I have just made that point to you that unfortunately American visitors do a once-in-a-lifetime visit to the UK. You have just said you will try to catch them the second time round. They have London and perhaps up to Stratford and next time round they go to Wales, but that is a strategy which unfortunately cannot succeed from the evidence we have. It cannot be right. (Mr Murphy) That is absolutely right. If you do go on holiday you plan your holiday beforehand and you decide where to go then. The point Mr Livsey made about the American writers is a very interesting one. They clearly saw something happening in Wales which was different. In a post-devolution United Kingdom, in a post-devolution Wales, where the height of the consciouness of this being a separate place with separate language, separate institutions, all the rest of it, does actually mean that more people now are going to be aware of Wales as a holiday destination. When you add what Kim has said, that it is a very lovely place to go on holiday anyway, despite the rain and it rains a fair bit in Pontypridd I guess, as it does all round, nevertheless there is no question in my mind that since devolution - I am meeting the Minister of Tourism later on this afternoon from the Assembly - there has been a change in all this and it will be a change for the better as we go along. Mrs Williams 298. It might be an idea if the Minister had the figures. We did see some of the promotional material when we met BTA representatives last week in North Wales. Perhaps there is a good reason for the Minister to have a look at that so-called BTA literature which is sent abroad. Maybe it is not quite up to what we should like it to be. I put it as mildly as that to you. (Mr Howie) Certainly. (Dr Howells) The act has improved a great deal now over the past couple of years in Wales, there is no question. They are starting to take it much more seriously than before. It might be something to do with this incredible psyche we have in Wales which is that real employment is coal mines, car factories, steel works, and pretend employment is tourism. Nothing could be crazier really. Chairman 299. Last Tuesday we took evidence from the BTA and it may well be that I should be addressing my remarks to them. Last Thursday I went to Olympia to a travel and tourism exhibition. I found a huge stand for Ireland, taking up an enormous area, half that size was a Scottish stand and nowhere was there a stand for Wales. I asked at the desk and nobody was there, not even bed and breakfast advertising from Wales. I do not know whose responsibility that was, probably I am not addressing the right people, but I should like to know your opinions of that. (Mr Howie) I do not know whose responsibility it was either, but I should be interested to look into it. It is very disappointing. It is very important that Wales should be represented because it has so much to offer. I cannot understand that was the case. 300. It does not matter how good the literature is if there is none there. (Mr Howie) Absolutely. (Mr Murphy) I share your disappointment. If there was a big exhibition like that, it is a singular omission that Wales was not there. 301. We may have to address that to the Wales Tourist Board. (Mr Wilson) May I just refer to the Scottish experience? This discussion could be replicated in Scottish terms. We share the same sense of frustration about how few visitors to the UK as a whole actually make it to Scotland. We share the same problems of how to get them beyond London. I was recently in Tokyo and I visited the BTA there. I can confirm that a lot of work is going into trying to devise packages which take people out of London and get them round the regions of England and also into Scotland and Wales. In spite of the icons we were talking about earlier, most people associate a visit to Europe, a visit to Britain, with London; that is where they want to start. It is difficult to get them beyond that. It may well be that it is something the Celtic nations should work on together and try to get packages together which are actually attracting them on that basis. I am a very strong believer that what we want to do is sell the difference. We want to sell the cultural difference and the image difference and that in a world where increasingly sophisticated travellers are looking for something that is different, then that is the strongest asset we have to sell. Mrs Williams 302. The tourist boards also told us that their limited budgets mean that they must target their resources on those areas where they will have the greatest return - those countries from which a number of Wales's foreign tourists already come. We are told, for example, that there is only one WTB officer based in North America. What can be done to open up new tourist markets for Wales? If we do not, I feel we are doomed. (Mr Howie) More and more things are turning towards the internet and more people are getting information from that so actual offices are perhaps less important than easily accessible information from the internet. I know that WTB has representation in Ireland, France, USA and the Netherlands. In these five places, it already has a presence. We need to speak with the British Tourist Authority and see whether they can come to any further arrangements for joint working with the Wales Tourist Board. 303. Would you agree that has been lacking? (Mr Howie) It is not lacking in the evidence I have had myself. We have had no complaints from Wales Tourist Board that they are not getting the service they want from BTA. As I mentioned earlier in the context of the BTA review, they were happy and said that they had value for money from the BTA. We must keep our options open and be prepared to see how much further we can promote Wales. (Dr Howells) May I try to contribute to this discussion? It is actually to do with ideas, is it not? That is what it is to do with. Mr Livsey's constituency has some of the most beautiful waterfalls you will ever find on the British mainland. There may be one, I do not know, but I do not recall that there is an equivalent to the Alpine guide system, for example, where you can turn up, or telephone, or book through the internet, and book yourself a guide who will take you as part of a package of visiting a teahouse, staying at a small hotel or bed and breakfast, take you around a collection of the waterfalls and there it is as a package. I guarantee you that if such a service existed, you would have a constant flow of people wanting to visit that site. What they have done in Scotland - somebody mentioned the genius of golf - is trade on that. It is marvellous. They understand that more deals are done on golf courses by rich businessmen than probably anywhere else, even worse than the Millennium Stadium in that respect. The fact is that they realise there is high value added to that kind of tourism. They target it very precisely. I am glad to see that we are trying to beat the Scots in attracting the Ryder Cup and I hope we win. But even if we do not win, we have to start realising that it is precise targeting which is going to lure people where we want them lured. Mr Edwards 304. I am sure Mr Wilson and Mr Howie would like to support Wales's bid for the Ryder Cup as well. Seriously, is there a role for your Department in this? I have tabled a Question to the Secretary of State for two weeks' time on this. (Mr Howie) A role for ...? 305. For your Department in helping to attract the Ryder Cup to Wales in discussions you may have with the Assembly? (Mr Howie) Yes, there is a role for our Department. I would not be involved myself, so I am not quite sure to what extent we would be able to influence this, but I am sure that people in my Department will be working on it. (Mr Wilson) It is a classic case of friendly competition between different parts of the UK. The important thing is that the UK as a whole is a winner, no matter what the final outcome is. Mr Llwyd 306. Mr Howie's response is quite interesting. Therefore can we extrapolate from that, that there is also a role in connection with the Scottish bid? Have we a conflict of interest, which we have been talking about all morning? (Mr Howie) I am not the right one to ask. Perhaps I should not be saying. I do not know the answer. Mr Llwyd: I do not want to push unnecessarily, but you knew the answer in connection with the Welsh question but you do not seem to know it in connection with the Scottish question. Chairman 307. May I couch it in different terms? Would you say there is a possibility of conflict within a single UK department when you are getting an outside international bid or making a bid for an outside international whatever? I think the answer is probably yes, is it not, otherwise you would have answered the question? (Mr Howie) It is something we would have to look very carefully at. Obviously we want to avoid any conflicts. Mr Livsey 308. There is no hesitation in my constituency about communication between Scotland and Wales. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews has given money to extend Palleg golf course at Upper Cwmtwrch in my constituency from nine holes to 18 holes and it has given us a six-figure sum to do that and we are very grateful to them. They are really good at promoting golf and it is going to be a very successful venture because it is right on the boundary of an open cast site which has just been closed down. (Mr Wilson) To help Mr Howie, may I say with absolute certainty that the Scottish bid for the Ryder Cup has been run entirely by the devolved administration. I would expect the same to be true in Wales. There is nobody at a central point trying to push it one way or another. It is classically something for different parts of the UK to compete for on equal terms. 309. Not that I in any way doubt what you have said, Mr Wilson, but could we possibly ask Mr Howie to have a look at the response he gave and then give us a written response to the question? That is a bit fairer. (Mr Howie) Absolutely; yes, I shall check. 310. I have no doubt what Mr Wilson is saying is right anyway but it would be interesting. (Dr Howells) I was at the launch, as was the Secretary of State, of the London end of the bid for the Ryder Cup to go to Newport. I have rarely seen a worse presentation in my life. When the fancy video was shown, computer aided, I said to the gentleman standing next to me that there was something wrong, it looked as though it had been recorded through a sock. He said, "No, no, no. I'm sure this is artistic". Then Serbo-Croat started to appear on the screen and then it just went phut and that was the end of it. It was unbelievable let me tell you. 311. I shared that experience. (Mr Murphy) Let nobody detract from the importance of the bid which all of us heartily support. It is only five miles from where I live. I am sure the DCMS will reply to you in writing in a tone of absolute neutrality. Chairman: I am sure and I hope that the bid is dealt with in the same way. Mr Caton 312. Last week we were in North Wales and we visited Snowdonia and we came across a debate there which is happening in environmentally sensitive areas across Britain about wanting to promote tourism on the one hand and then being concerned about environmental damage and the effect on the quality of the product you are trying to sell. What is the Government doing to promote sustainable tourism, particularly in those sensitive areas? (Mr Howie) The Government is very aware of sustainable tourism and it is very keen that the pace and the way that tourism is developed is alert to the effects on the environment. Ministers in Government got together for a tourism summit last March and another is planned for this March, at which sustainable development was discussed. It is being looked at across all Government Departments to see how each can contribute in the form of transport and tourism and how policies can integrate. 313. In some parts of our wonderful country it is becoming fairly critical. It sounded as though it is not being treated with quite the urgency it perhaps should be by having a few meetings and discussing how we go forward. We really need some action very soon. (Mr Howie) Action is taking place following these summits and it is just the bringing together of the Ministers I was talking about. 314. Can you give us some examples of action, of initiatives, of good practice? (Mr Howie) In the Lake District where there is a large number of tourists, action was taken to stop the noise of motorboats spoiling the environment. That is something which springs to my mind. (Dr Howells) As somebody who has climbed in Snowdon since 1963, may I say that I have seen an incredible deterioration of that landscape? It is amazing what has happened. In Mr Livsey's constituency, the path which runs from the Storey Arms to the summit of Pen y Fan was a tiny sheeptrack when I first went up there. It is now like the M1. The point I want to make is that we have quangos dealing with this. I know. There are councillors from all the local authorities in Wales who go along to National Park quangos and they are supposed to sort all this out. If they have not been sorting it out, what is the point of having them. If the Assembly feels that it has to take this seriously, they had better start very quickly because there are problems, there are very serious problems with the deterioration of some of our finest assets in our landscape. You are quite right. We have certainly got to learn from other parts of the world who are facing very similar things because tourism is such a hugely expanding industry. It has damaged the landscape in my lifetime very seriously. Mr Livsey 315. I back up totally what Dr Howells has said. You can now see with the naked eye from ten miles away, which you could not see 20 years ago, the huge scar going up the side of Pen y Fan, which is the highest point in South Wales in my constituency. It is very serious indeed. I should like to ask Mr Howie this. The Council for the National Parks is now setting up an office in Cardiff, in fact the National Park Officer for the Brecon Beacons National Park has been appointed there as the chief of that operation. Is he going to encourage the British Tourist Authority to market the National Parks in a much more aggressive way than formerly? The visitors to Brecon Beacons National Park have gone down in the last ten years; not up, they have gone down. We are addressing that locally by promoting them like blazes to try to ensure that everybody knows where they are and what fantastic attractions they have in terms of landscape. Clearly tourism now is going on the internet in a big way. What are you doing with information technology in the British Tourist Authority to promote National Parks through the internet? People go half way across the world to see the kind of scenery we have. (Mr Howie) That is right and these things are on the internet. You will find them in the visitbritain.com website that BTA has. Similarly Britain's gardens, including ten in Wales, have been featured on the internet because that is of specific interest to people too. Perhaps I might come back to you on the sustainable development. The BTA are developing sustainable tourism strategies and action plans so that tourism activity can be sustained over the long term. Just to tell you that these things are going on actively just now. Mr Caton 316. Are they being developed or are any in existence? (Mr Howie) They are being developed at the moment. 317. We should not just talk about National Parks, we should talk about our other environmentally sensitive special areas. As the representative of the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the country, our AONBs, which everybody accepts are on a par with the National Parks, should also be promoted and recognised, but also protected. (Dr Howells) It is not often I get a chance to do this about Wales these days. May I say that I think Mr Caton is absolutely right? We are so frivolous with the way we treat our landscape in Wales. I shall tell you one of the very worst offenders. As a child I was able to walk to the top of Craig y Llyn above Hirwaun and look in any direction and see only wilderness. I look in any direction now, I see white windmills. I am all for sustainable power, but I am not for wrecking our landscape and our heritage for future generations. That sense of loneliness and wilderness is one of the great attractions of those areas you have mentioned, not just inside the National Parks, but outside the National Parks. We have to be much more sensitive. I notice they do not put windmills on Hampstead Heath and they do not put them on the North Downs in Surrey, they do not put them on lots of other hills near the Home Counties. There is plenty of wind around there. They do not do it of course because they regard them as rather sensitive areas. They are the last of our little green areas around London. Maybe we ought to be a bit more sensitive about the way in which we desecrate our hillsides in that way too. Chairman: Speaking as Chairman, I could not agree more. You are absolutely right. How are we going to sell Wales as a tourist destination if it is covered with windmills from top to bottom. Ludicrous. Mrs Williams 318. During our two-day visit to North Wales last week, I heard a comment made on the radio asking whether Wales actually needs more tourists. This was a radio presenter. Representing a constituency which has a very high percentage of tourist attractions I was quite appalled to hear that presenter making such a statement. I put it to you. Does Wales actually need more tourists, or could economic growth be promoted by encouraging those who do come to spend more, for example by targeting higher-spending niche markets? (Mr Murphy) I certainly think there is no question that we need more tourists in Wales. It is also interesting to note that areas which were never tourist areas are becoming them and that the valleys of south Wales in particular are now becoming tourist destinations in themselves. In my own constituency Big Pit[?], for example, is important in ensuring that people are aware of how conditions were when people went underground all those years ago - not that long ago in fact in terms of Big Pit. Obviously it is important to continue to attract people to our main centres of tourism, whether in north Wales or in west Wales or wherever. However, there are other parts of Wales which are equally interesting to tourism from different points of view. There is a huge potential still there for us to attract as many people as possible and to ensure that there are more jobs going into the economy which are associated with tourism. We forget at our peril the many, many hundreds of thousands of people in Wales who depend for their livelihood on the tourist industry. (Dr Howells) We have a huge capacity to soak up a lot more tourists yet. The point Mrs Williams makes about targeting tourists is very important actually. In a sense we want to attract the right kind of tourists, namely those who are going to spend lots of money in Wales. Mr Caton's constituency is a classic. That Swansea/Gower environment is extraordinary. A visit to Swansea market, out to the Gower to see some of the most spectacular coastal scenery anywhere in the world. What could be better than that? It would be wonderful if it were presented properly. (Mr Murphy) The other important aspect of Wales as a destination for tourists is the diversity in such a small country. That is the biggest selling point we have, that within a matter of a few days, if you want to, although it would be unwise, you need to spread it much more than that, but if you wanted to, within a week the variety of places you could see and experience in Wales is probably the greatest variety of any part of western Europe or indeed beyond. That is what we have to ensure that we develop over the next decade or two. Coming back to the Assembly, the activity of the Assembly in this regard, together with what the British Government are doing as a partnership is the best way we can achieve it. 319. Do you think that tourism has been and perhaps now is being undervalued as an industry? If radio presenters are making such silly statements, it makes the situation much worse than it presently is. Last week we met the tourist representative who said she was being interviewed, which is somewhat different from a presenter making his comments. She was being interviewed and challenged as to whether we want more tourists to come to Wales, whether we want to promote more tourism. When we have TV and radio presenters making statements like this, where do we go? (Mr Murphy) It comes back to the point of places which we never regarded as being centres for tourism. The classic one is the south Wales valleys, no question about that, but there are others too within Wales which now are very different. People at one time never ever thought that they would have a tourist industry within those parts of Wales. In other parts of Wales, which have for many, many years been centres of tourism, it is commonplace; people understand that there are jobs associated with tourism. It is quite a new phenomenon in the valleys of south Wales to say that here is tourism and here are jobs. Clearly over the last week or two with all these announcements we have had about job losses, it is very important to emphasise that we can develop tourism as a means by which we can employ people and attract people to see what we have to offer. That mentality amongst people in the constituencies which Kim and I represent, for example, is increasing all the time. It is seen as a major employer of people as well as being of major importance in itself. (Dr Howells) We have spent millions of pounds cleaning up our rivers and slag heaps. We have salmon which have come back after a century in the river Taff. They can get up as far as Radyr, but then there is no fish ladder. So the river bailiffs jump into the river there, so the First Secretary, Mr Morgan, tells me, and throw the salmon up the weir so they get into the upper river. I tell you, they get no further than Treforest in Pontypridd because there is a miserable 15- foot weir there. This is the Niagara falls as far as the authorities in Wales are concerned. For years and years and years they have been talking about building a salmon or fish ladder up there. If salmon could get into the upper reaches of the Taff they would go right up through Merthyr, up into the Brecon Beacons. Think what an extraordinary attraction that would be. We have seen evidence that these cleaned-up rivers are attracting more salmon now, whilst other established rivers have seen a decline in the salmon numbers. However, we cannot get our act together to do enough joined up thinking to build simple things like fish ladders and then promote the tourism on the back of it, fishing industry, good hotels and places to stay and everything associated with it. We have been hopeless at it. Why is that? Why is that? Are we too dull to understand it or are we so compartmentalised that we cannot handle it? I do not know. (Mr Howie) I should like to add how important we think it is because tourism is a major economic driver in Wales. It is estimated that about 100,000 jobs are tourism related, so it is very important to the economy. Also, the total overnight and day visitors spending comes to œ2.2 billion, which is seven per cent of GDP. It is quite clear how important tourism is to the country. Mr Llwyd 320. I am pleased to say that this question is for Mr Gibbins, who has not dominated the proceedings hitherto. Could you please describe the relationship between the DCMS and S4C? In so doing, would you describe how the National Assembly fits into the equation, please? (Mr Gibbins) S4C is grant-aided by DCMS to the tune of about œ78 million in the year 2000. S4C was set up under the Broadcasting Act. The Assembly does not have a direct relationship with S4C but DCMS consults the Assembly about the appointments to the board of S4C. There is a Memorandum of Understanding between DCMS and S4C which sets out the requirements for a business plan, forward requirements and Government accountancy practice and so on. However, as with other broadcasters, S4C is much more at an arm's-length from DCMS than our other NDPBs are. For example, DCMS does not interfere in programming or editorial content. Mr Edwards 321. We were told by S4C that the Welsh film industry, in particular international co- productions, is effective at raising Wales's profile abroad. Do you agree and do you think that if we had a similar tax regime in the UK to the one they have in Ireland we could attract more film makers? (Mr Gibbins) On the first point, there are two areas which can be affected by film and television programmes. It is absolutely clear that films and television programmes and the locations in which they are set can have a big influence on tourism, which we were talking about previously. It is clear that programmes like Heartbeat and even the Full Monty can attract tourists to Yorkshire; even though something like the Full Monty did not really show an attractive side of Sheffield it nevertheless interests people and people are going to Sheffield. The other thing is that certainly television programmes can have a probably more direct impact on the national community, but film can have a more significant impact because feature films get shown around the world and can attract visitors from around the world. The other aspect of film and raising the profile of the location is the fact of film making can give a location a certain image. Because it is a cutting edge industry it gives a feel of a place being at the cutting edge of the industry. An example of that is that quite a large property development company - this is an example from England - is thinking about developing a film studio attached to a business park which will be a business park for creative industries, lots of electronic work, animation and so on, with a film studio attached. The reason they want to attach a film studio is because of that sort of image you can give. It adds a certain attraction. Those are the two sorts of image which a film can give, both from the location filming point of view and the actual fact of filming it in a location. You asked about the tax regime as well. The Irish tax regime is worth about 12 per cent of production costs to film makers. The tax regime in Britain, which is of course a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, there is no difference between the Welsh and English situation, we think is worth something between six and ten per cent of production costs of a film. It is slightly different in Ireland in that the tax benefits are attracted to investments whereas here they are given to the production costs of a film. So far as I am aware there has been no lobbying from the industry for anything comparable to the Irish system here. The industry has been concentrating on trying to persuade the Chancellor to extend the tax benefits which exist at the moment, which is to say that films costing less than œ15 million to make attract 100 per cent write-off of the production costs in one year. The benefit is the ability to write-off in one year rather than over a longer period. That works out at being worth between six and ten per cent of the production costs for the industry. That regime is due to expire next year and the industry has been concentrating on trying to get the Chancellor to extend it. 322. May I take you back to the first part of your answer? You may be familiar with the fact that there is a school of film studies at the University College of Wales in Newport and some consideration of developing a film studio in that area. I am sure you might agree that that could help promote the film industry in Wales just along the lines you were suggesting. (Mr Gibbins) Absolutely. One of the essentials if you want to attract film makers is to have studio facilities. Of course film making on location is quite possible, but film makers tend to like to be near studio facilities. So if there are no studios, it is certainly more difficult to attract film making. Mrs Williams 323. A question about the film industry and how that can benefit the tourist industry. I notice that in Ireland they have done extremely well as many, many years ago the film The Quiet Man was filmed in a small place called Connacht[?]. They are still attracting visitors from all over the UK and indeed from America because of the actors who took part in that film. I am thinking in particular of Snowdonia where The Inn of the Sixth Happiness was filmed some years ago, which was a very well known film with the late Ingrid Bergman. This has not been used in such a way and films never seems to be used in that sort of way in Wales. Can you perhaps tell us why you think that is so? Who should take the initiative to make the most of a location where a well-known film has been made? (Mr Howie) May I start by saying that the BTA has a website which is called the "Movie Map", which identifies areas in Britain where films have been made? You are familiar with this. I suspect, I am not terribly sure, that there might be more modern films on it than The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, but there is no reason why they cannot think about adding that to it. I shall ask if that can be done. 324. Who should take the initiative in any area, thinking about Wales now, to make the most of film making? (Mr Gibbins) I should have thought it would be for the local tourist board to work with the BTA, to bring that sort of thing to the attention of the BTA. If the Wales Tourist Board would like something promoted abroad, I am sure they would be very happy to undertake that promotion, or, the Wales Tourist Board also has overseas offices itself now. 325. Maybe it comes back to what Dr Howells was saying earlier about who was running tourism in Wales. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness was filmed many, many years ago and that might be one reason. (Dr Howells) And you have to make good films to start with of course. Mrs Williams: It was a good film Mr Llwyd: In that context, a huge classic, Carry On Up The Khyber, was filmed in Capel Curig. Mrs Williams 326. The Welsh Language Board says that the Welsh language is "one of the strongest and most emotive links between people of Welsh origin and Wales, even if they do not speak the language themselves". What is the Government doing to promote the Welsh language abroad? How can the language be used to forge links with other bilingual countries and regions? (Mr Murphy) As you know, the Assembly has recently established a cultural consortium, including the Wales Tourist Board, the Welsh Development Agency, the National Council for Education and Training and other bodies as well. I think that particular body, together with those specific responsibilities which the Assembly has regarding the promotion of the Welsh language can add tremendously, as you quite rightly say, to the attraction of Wales as a destination for tourists, not just because of the diaspora, but also because people do see us as having a distinctive culture, as a consequence of having the language as we do in terms of being the biggest language outside English in Wales which is indigenous. That in itself is very, very important. It does need to be an understanding with those who run tourism in the United Kingdom that this is a very big plus point for us in Wales and they need to relate very closely indeed, perhaps more closely than they have in the past, with the Assembly and with the Welsh Language Board, to ensure that this is seen as a major selling point, which I have not the slightest doubt that it is. You are also right to say that it is not just a question of those people who can speak Welsh who would benefit from that, but that the majority of people in Wales who cannot speak Welsh would too agree, I am sure, with the points I have just expressed. (Mr Wilson) May I add a brief Foreign Office point to that. As someone who very strongly supports the Scottish Gaelic language and minority languages generally, it is a matter of pride for this Government that it was we who signed the European Declaration on Lesser Used Languages, which of course reflects not only existing commitments to the language but implies ongoing support. I certainly believe that emphasising the difference in cultural distinctiveness, is not only intrinsically valuable, but it is also good economic sense and is of great interest to many people in the world. 327. The Secretary of State makes an interesting point about the rest of the UK. In fact that point was made to us last week in our two-day visit to north Wales, that maybe we are not promoting Wales enough in England and in Scotland before we start thinking of "abroad" as we know it. (Mr Murphy) I could not agree with Mrs Williams more. If you talk to people, as inevitably we have as Members of Parliament, to people who live here in London and with whom we have dealings, you will probably find that a large number have never been to Wales and that there is a huge untapped market across Offa's Dyke, across the border, which we ought to attract. If you think in terms of the spending power people could bring in, even if they come for the weekend or even just days, because it is possible to do that, that would be of enormous importance in economic terms to Wales. Chairman 328. The National Assembly has recently announced the establishment of a cultural consortium, Cymru'n Creu, which will apparently bring together all the ASPBs with responsibility for cultural and sporting matters. Will the existence of a single consortium make it easier to co-ordinate the promotion of tourism and trade promotion with cultural and sporting events? (Mr Murphy) I would hope that it would. It is matter I am going to be talking to Mrs Anderson about in a hour or so's time. I shall mention to her that you raised this matter today, but I am sure that bringing together all those different agencies and bodies in Wales under one umbrella is bound to improve the way in which we deal with the matters we have been discussing this morning. Only good can come out of it. Mr Edwards 329. May I ask about devolution and the UK Government? There is a lack of overseas diplomatic representation in Wales compared with the other countries of the UK - only the Republic of Ireland and the USA have posts in Cardiff - which places Wales at a comparative disadvantage when it comes to promoting foreign trade, inward investment, international cultural links and tourism. Would you consider that? (Mr Wilson) I should certainly like to see more consular posts in Wales. We do actively encourage this idea. We encourage ambassadors and officials of embassies to visit Wales and then they form their own assessment. To add to what I said earlier, Mrs Williams wondered how many of the people who went to Wales actually went on their own initiative rather than being directed or assisted there by the Foreign Office. I can tell the Committee that we have liaised with the National Assembly of Wales recently over visits by the Polish, Uzbekistani, Italian and Brazilian Ambassadors and a Japanese senior official, just to name but a few. Each of them is encouraged to think of making some more lasting connection with Wales. I understand that the National Assembly of Wales is in the process of considering its own strategy for promoting these links and increasing consular representation will play a part in that. We certainly want to see that happen and we shall continue to encourage it. If a fresh reminder to embassies in London, but maybe looking at how they relate to Wales and the other devolved national entities, would be helpful, then we should be very pleased to do that. Chairman 330. In fact as a Committee we have written to all the embassies in the UK asking whether they are going to have representation in Wales. It does seem to be a financial matter for them. At least we have put a marker down. We have the Irish and American posts and we have met both those and they seem to be finding it a very useful connection. I hope that encourages others. (Mr Murphy) It is true to say that the position of Consul General for the Republic of Ireland has been hugely successful in Wales. If other diplomatic missions were to talk to their Irish counterparts, they would see the value of that post. (Mr Wilson) I shall be addressing the London Diplomatic Corps in Cardiff - I am sorry, it is on St David's Day. I shall be reinforcing these points. Mrs Williams 331. My question is also post devolution. Does it make sense for more of the responsibility for promoting Wales overseas to be transferred to the National Assembly and its associated public bodies in Wales rather than preserving the two-tier system where responsibility is shared between Welsh and UK bodies? If so, what are the benefits of the current system? (Mr Wilson) I should advise very strongly against transferring everything to the devolved administration. 332. Could you expand on the current system? (Mr Wilson) I do not want to get too deeply into internal Welsh politics, but I certainly believe that the devolved nations of the UK get the best of both worlds at present. They get distinctive representation abroad and they also get the benefits of being part of the United Kingdom, particularly with this vast network of embassies and consular posts around the world. There are two priorities. One is to make sure that every part of that network is representing all parts of the UK equally; and that is something in which we are all entitled to be vigilant. Secondly, it is very important to add value where possible by the specifically Welsh or Scottish or Northern Irish activities abroad. It really would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater to give up what the UK is uniquely able to provide, which is that level and quality of representation in every corner of the world. We have not talked at all today about the consular side of things, but wherever a Welsh man or woman has a problem anywhere in the world, there is going to be a British Embassy or Consul within relatively easy reach. That certainly would not be true if Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland were doing all of these things on their own account. There is a vast range of benefits from the two-tier approach, subject to these two caveats: one, we should always be vigilant that it is working properly; secondly, we should add value where we can. Mr Livsey 333. When we were on the social exclusion investigation, we visited Chicago. The consul there was very helpful indeed, particularly in relation to Wales, although he was not directly connected, I seem to recollect. It was very interesting because we met a Professor from the University of Chicago who told me anyway that there were enormous links south of Chicago with Welsh communities going quite a long way down. I was not quite certain that the hierarchy was as well aware of that, which is quite understandable. What are you doing to educate staff about Wales in your Department and the consciousness about various facets of Wales which may be of interest in overseas countries? (Mr Wilson) I am sure the Committee accepts that I am pretty new to this but it is an area in which I am very interested. I have seen the same thing in a Scottish context - and I apologise again for referring back to this - and it is a close parallel. I was in Nova Scotia recently and there are still Gaelic speaking communities in Nova Scotia, but absolutely no effort has been made to develop not only the cultural links but also the economic benefits which could flow from it. You are talking about oil provinces in Nova Scotia and New Foundland with very, very deep cultural links, but unless you know that, unless you have that in your bones, you may not find it out from sitting in Ottawa. Therefore I am trying to do something about that. It is a very close parallel with the example Mr Livsey gives. It almost comes down to individuals and this is surely for the Assembly. If devolution is to improve sensitivity to these matters, then this is a good example of where. It is much more likely that the people in Wales know about these connections than it is that ambassadors or consuls sitting in Ottawa or Chicago know about them and that information must be fed through and pressures must be created to respond to them. The point is really well taken that on a superficial level everything may be done to promote these links and I can give you lists of Welsh days and Scottish days and all the other worthy things which are being done, when in fact there might be a much more subtle form of relationships which can only be developed if they are known about and the people who are most likely to know about them are those who are most directly touched by them. Let us try to develop these subtleties in a way which has not been done systematically before. Chairman: On that note, there are no more questions, so thank you all for coming. It was very useful.