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Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 9:35 am on 29th November 1996.

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Photo of Mrs Virginia Bottomley Mrs Virginia Bottomley Secretary of State for National Heritage 9:35 am, 29th November 1996

My hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Sir J. Lester) is one of many who can give evidence of the great excitement in many of our wonderful cities and towns. I was in Nottingham only the other day to see the way in which the Lace Market, the Playhouse and many of the other arts, cultural and heritage facilities are benefiting from the Government's commitment to regeneration across the country—especially with the additional help of money from the national lottery. I would be the first to say that people who come only to London and do not see the quality of life in wonderful cities across the country fail to get the full benefit of life in Britain today.

Some 1.8 million people work in the industry and there are as many again whose jobs depend indirectly on tourism. The industry has the potential to create up to 1 million new jobs in the next 10 years. That success is, of course, the reward for our increasing competitiveness in recent years. Unlike the Labour party, we will not burden the industry with job-destroying, bureaucratic regulations. We will continue to work to ensure that Britain remains competitive in the increasingly tough and demanding worldwide market.

The domestic market is particularly vulnerable. Travel to many places is easier than it has ever been. The political changes of recent years have opened up destinations that were previously almost impossible to visit. Increasing affluence, thanks to the Conservative Government's prudent handling of the nation's finances, means that consumers are more demanding, more able to travel and more discriminating than ever before.