In the first quarter of 1985 the number of visits to the United Kingdom by overseas residents was 10 per cent, higher than a year earlier, at a new record level for a first quarter. I am optimistic about the prospects for the rest of the year.
Is it not true that a record number of jobs are being created in tourism, and that this service industry is one of the most promising areas for growth in employment? What was the value of tourism to Britain last year, and how many people were employed in the industry?
Over 1 million people are currently employed in the industry. What my hon. Friend says about the prospects for growth in employment is correct. He may have noticed that we are now publishing, quarter by quarter, the growth in jobs in the tourist-related sectors. I hope that that will highlight the point that he is making.
Does the Minister agree that while it is good to encourage tourism to underdeveloped areas such as Merseyside, it would be better if the Government concentrated on rebuilding industry in such areas in order to get the thousands and thousands of workers who are unemployed there back to work? Otherwise, we shall become a national museum.
The hon. Gentleman has previously urged me to do more for tourism on Merseyside. We need to do things to help manufacturing and services, but we must face the fact that one of the best prospects for growth in employment lies in the services sector, and that includes tourism.
However, we have never been warned that the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has changed his style. Could you do something, Mr. Speaker, to protect the House from the shock of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry being nice to people, because if that goes on my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) will change his style as well?
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I too have noticed that the Prime Minister now has more voices than Janet Brown. Today, at Question Time, we have heard from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and he has been nearly as quiet as a tailor's dummy, but, I assure you, Mr. Speaker, I ain't changing.