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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 Douglas Jay Mr Douglas Jay , Battersea North 12:00 am, 11th August 1966

With the leave of the House, I would like to reply to a number of questions which have been raised. I would like to say, first of all to the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Mr. Hall-Davis), who has great knowledge of this industry, as have other hon. Members who have spoken, that it is not our intention to administer this development loan scheme in any rigid or inflexible manner. We are already discussing the working of it with the British Travel Association and the British Hotels and Restaurants Association, and the "Little Neddy". We shall take into account what hon. Gentlemen have said and, any points which may be raised in these consultations.

I still believe, in spite of all that has been said, and in the light of these consultations, that this will be a considerable contribution to the development of the industry. I rather agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. John Hynd)—Sheffield appears to be very well represented in the House this evening—that when we are using public money and offering loans of this kind, directed to one particular industry, although there is a good case for doing so, we have to set some limits and have considerable safeguards to see that the loan of public money is justified and is properly used.

After all, we are making available sums of up to £5 million in one year for the benefit of a particular industry. If firms in this industry do not feel that it is any use to them, they are under no obligation to accept it. Money will only be loaned to people who think that they can make some good use of it. If we are to be told that even this amount of assistance will not enable the British hotel industry to develop and modernise, there will be some people, like my hon. Friend the Member for Attercliffe, who will begin to say that perhaps this industry ought to be organised in some other way.

I hasten to add that I am not proposing this, because I believe that the industry, as at present organised, and with all the help given by the Government, is perfectly capable of increasing its earnings and developing in the way in which we all wish.