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Clause 1. — (Machinery and Plant.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Industrial Development Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th August 1966.

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Photo of Mr John Osborn Mr John Osborn , Sheffield, Hallam 12:00 am, 11th August 1966

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. John Hynd) has raised certain points and I would like to say to him from this side of the House that we are not interested in subsidies. The Amendment refers to the payment of grants and refers to Clause 1 of the Bill. The subsidy is something else which has been dealt with by the President of the Board of Trade in another context, outside of this Bill.

Mention has been made of hotels in Sheffield. There is one new hotel in my constituency and another in the centre of the city. Both are Trust House hotels and as my hon. Friend the Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Mr. Hall-Davis) has pointed out, certain hotels are not continuing with their programmes. I believe that the Trust house group is one of those which has curtailed its development.

I have been actively concerned, in discussions with the Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Trade in Sheffield, with the problem of attracting businessmen to the city. Businessmen will go to London, but they are reluctant to make the journey to Sheffield. I feel that they will be less reluctant now that there are two new hotels in the city in addition to those which already exist. This is accommodation which makes it possible for the heads of businesses to invite their customers to the city. When the customers come to the hotel, they do not stay there; they are able to go out and see the products being made. Invariably, the key export order is one that is clinched either after a reasonable evening meal or the next morning, when the customer has had time to sleep on the arguments put forward.

A country like ours must not only cater for the tourist trade, but for the travelling businessman. These people are travelling around Europe and America and are willing to buy here. If we have good hotels, whether by means of this Clause or other grants, and if these hotels are up to international standard, then export customers will be delighted to come to this country.