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Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 10:20 am on 29th November 1996.

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Photo of Dr Jack Cunningham Dr Jack Cunningham Shadow Secretary of State, Shadow Secretary of State for National Heritage 10:20 am, 29th November 1996

I share my right hon. Friend's view of the importance of that, not only to Manchester and the Commonwealth games but to the future success of the economy of the north-west as a whole.

The industries that we are talking about are hugely important to Exchequer income in Britain. Yet this week the arts, museums and tourism were hammered again by a disastrous short-term Budget. Again the Secretary of State completely failed to protect her departmental responsibilities from damaging cuts.

I welcome the report of the National Heritage Select Committee, which is so ably chaired by my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman). I am confident that the Committee's ideas will be widely endorsed, and I share its view about the special importance of a statutory register for all premises offering accommodation to visitors in Britain, and about the need quickly to produce a harmonised official scheme of ratings. Those are two aspects of the Labour party policy document, "Breaking New Ground—Labour's strategy for tourism and hospitality".

The right hon. Lady chided us for including on the cover of that document a photograph of Blackpool pleasure beach, and said something about the managing director, Geoffrey Thompson. In his endorsement of our document, this is what he actually said about Labour party policy, as opposed to what the right hon. Lady alleged he said: It's great to see tourism recognised as an industry and on the political agenda. We welcome this initiative". He also gave his approval for the inclusion of the photograph.