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Baroness Gardner of Parkes: I take quite a different view of this matter. I believe that if this person is elected to be responsible for London, London is certainly the cause that he should be promoting.
I listened with some sympathy to the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Gordon of Strathblane, in relation to Scotland. However, I believe that it is up to Scotland to solve their own problems. It is not for the mayor or the Greater London Authority to decide what should be done to help Scotland. The rest of the world--and I speak as someone who has come from 12,000 miles away--believes that London is the hub of the universe to visit. That is what brings people here. It provides a huge source of employment.
I do not believe that any improvement in other areas will result from the mayor denigrating or taking less interest in the promotion of London. I believe that such improvements are more likely to be achieved as a result of the mayor promoting London. I therefore oppose this amendment.
Baroness Carnegy of Lour: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Gordon of Strathblane, for the speech that he did not make! He suggested that visitors should go direct to Scotland or Northern Ireland and thus relieve London of the responsibility about which the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, has complained.
As Clause 303(1)(b) is worded, it gives the impression that the idea is to persuade people to go to other parts of the United Kingdom, using London as a point of entry to the country, as they did for the Open Golf Championship the other day. Scottish tourism needs to point out to visitors to London the fact that they can go on to visit other places. They may also wish to encourage such visitors to give London the benefit of their custom but point out that there are other parts of the United Kingdom that they could visit. There are several angles to this amendment.
I was rather disappointed to hear that my noble friend on the Front Bench does not like Clause 303(1)(b), because I believe that that is what it means. It will be interesting to hear what the Minister has to say.
Viscount Falkland: I speak to Amendments. Nos. 455XAA and 455ZAYA standing in my name and the names of my noble friends Baroness Hamwee and Lord Phillips of Sudbury. We have returned to the question of lists.
On this occasion, however, we seek to add the London Tourist Board to the list of bodies named in Clause 303(11). Five boards or authorities are listed in this paragraph: the British Tourist Authority, the English Tourist Board, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Scottish Tourist Board and the Wales Tourist Board. It seems to us both necessary and appropriate that the London Tourist Board should be added in this part of the Bill.
The second amendment at the beginning of Clause 304 deals with the Authority's duty to advise on such matters relating to tourism in Greater London as the Minister may think fit or as the authority may refer to it. For the same reasons, we would add the London Tourist Board to "any Minister of the Crown, the British Tourist Authority, or the English Tourist Board", as a body to be advised. If there are to be fairly comprehensive lists, we believe that it would be appropriate to add the London Tourist Board.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I start by acknowledging and trumpeting the unique contribution that tourism makes to the success of London and London makes to the success of tourism in the United Kingdom. The mayor will certainly need to develop clear policies to help him fulfil his role with respect to tourism in Greater London, and he will be free to adopt whatever strategic approach to tourism he considers appropriate.
In general terms, the clauses require the mayor to promote Greater London as a tourist destination, both in its own right and for overseas visitors, as a gateway to the rest of the United Kingdom. I shall return to that point later. The authority will have broad powers to achieve this general objective, including powers to undertake publicity and promotional activities, provide advice and information, and offer financial assistance for tourism-related initiatives.
In order to carry out his duties with respect to tourism, he will receive grant-in-aid from the Secretary of State. With the assistance of grant-in-aid, it is intended that the mayor should implement nationwide tourism schemes and initiatives in Greater London in a manner that is consistent with the national strategy for tourism. In exercising his general duties in relation to tourism, the mayor will be required to give consideration to consulting and co-operating with the Secretary of State, the existing tourist boards and other relevant persons and organisations. He will also be required, if asked, to give advice to the tourist boards and Ministers.
Clause 303(1)(a) places a duty on the mayor to encourage people to visit Greater London. The effect of Amendment No. 455RJ is to state expressly that such visitors may be people either from within or outside the United Kingdom. The provision the amendment seeks to amend already encompasses people generally, in other words, both inside and outside, and therefore the amendment is unnecessary.
It is intended that the mayor should have statutory duties to promote tourism in Greater London in all its forms. Although it is recognised that London is not the only "gateway" for tourists to the United Kingdom, it is clear that it has a very significant role as such. The provision that Amendment No. 455UA seeks to remove was included to highlight this important aspect of the tourism industry in Greater London which the Government would not wish to see undervalued.
We need a little further explanation on this matter. The British Tourist Authority is the authority that encourages visitors to go to other areas of the United Kingdom. The authority is funded by taxpayers, including the taxpayers of Greater London. However, over 50 per cent of visitors want to come to London, and it is very difficult to stop them if they want to do that. Our intention is to persuade those visitors to move beyond London. That is the object of the exercise. Noble Lords have interpreted subsection (4)(b) in two different ways. One way is to encourage them to come via Greater London and not any other way, and the other is to visit the United Kingdom via Greater London. If that has caused confusion then I think we should look at the wording again in order to ensure that everyone interprets the clause in the same way. It is certainly not the Government's intention to cause confusion in this way.
The mayor also has a duty to the promotion and development of the tourism industry in Greater London. We do expect that tourist amenities and facilities provided or improved by the mayor will benefit residents and workers as well as tourists. However, it would be casting the mayor's powers too widely to
It would not be helpful to remove the definition of tourist amenities and facilities as is proposed by Amendment No. 455ZAA. The definition of "tourist amenities and facilities" in the Bill is intended to cover any amenities and facilities that might be used by visitors to the area or other people travelling within the area for the purposes of business or leisure. The definition is intentionally wide so as to allow the mayor broad powers to enhance Greater London. Removal of the definition could confine the scope of the mayor's duty to those amenities and facilities used only by tourists, which would be inconsistent with the objectives of these provisions. Incidentally, the amendments themselves are mutually contradictory.
Amendment No. 455WAB concerns the promotion of London outside the UK in itself and as a "gateway" to the rest of the country. It seeks to add the encouragement of visits from people within the United Kingdom, which makes nonsense of the provision.
Although we recognise that Greater London is not the only "gateway" for tourists, it is clear that it does have a role. Amendment No. 455WAC would remove the mayor's power to encourage people to visit the United Kingdom by way of Greater London. I referred to this issue when I said that we should think again about the wording to make sure that it is unambiguous.
Clause 303(11) defines the term "tourist board". It is intended that the definition should mean the national tourism bodies and the British Tourist Authority, which are responsible for promoting Britain overseas. These bodies are referred to in the Development of Tourism Act 1969. Amendment No. 455XAA seeks to add the London Tourist Board. However, the London Tourist Board is not a statutory body and it would be inappropriate for it to be written into the Bill. So the amendment is inappropriate.
Lord Gordon of Strathblane: The Minister may wish to bear in mind that, although he is correct in stating that the London Tourist Board is not a statutory body, it is given observer status on the board of the British Tourist Authority. I believe that it is recognised that London is almost sui generis in this regard and perhaps should be graded up to the level of a national tourist board.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I am not putting forward an argument against the mayor having dealings with the London Tourist Board. I say only that because it is not a statutory body, it is not appropriate for reference to it to be made in statute. My noble friend can achieve what he wants without amendment.
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