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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

Indeed. But this is what Mr. Peter Moore had to say about low pay: You can't pay low wages—it's a false economy"— if you do— Additional money has then to be spent on constant recruitment, selection and training. No genuine service culture can therefore be built and it just becomes a negative spiral. The right hon. Lady ought to be a little more careful in adducing support from such people. She did not accurately express his views.

We are determined to make an impact on low pay and we are committed to the principle of a minimum wage. We are determined too that Government and the industries will work together more effectively to market UK plc, to enhance our chances of improving our share of the continuing growth in global tourism.

The Government's record is one of 17 years of indifference, neglect and policies that have been damaging to the industries, culminating this week in the abysmal Budget, with its taxes and cuts in the right hon. Lady's departmental budget. Tax is the ground on which the Tories often choose to fight and I am happy to take up that challenge. Let us consider air passenger duty, which was first introduced by the Government—one of their 22 new taxes. The present rate is £5 for most flights in Europe and £10 for other journeys. Those rates will be doubled as a result of the Budget. The £10 rate will apply to flights beginning in the UK and ending in the UK or any of the following countries: any EU member state, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, the Azores, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Corsica, the Faroe Islands, Madeira, Sardinia, Sicily, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. The £20 rate is for flights to the United States of America. The revenue yield will be £385 million in a full year.

So, the Secretary of State is telling us that by taxing people an extra £385 million she is helping the prospects of our tourism industry. That is complete and arrant nonsense. I cannot believe that it comes from the party that says that low taxes are important. Yet the right hon. Lady —a member of the Cabinet—tells the House today that those increases will not damage the prospects of our tourism and hospitality industries.

The insurance premium tax has also increased as a result of the Budget. Travel insurance and insurance on car hire are the two areas of relevance to be affected. Is increasing the taxes on those insurances calculated to increase the attractiveness of Britain for foreign visitors? Is it calculated to make us more competitive as a host country for visitors and tourists, or less? I will be happy to give way to any right hon. or hon. Gentleman who wants to advance an answer or an argument. Will the taxes help or hinder us? Yes or no? They do not seem to be quite so keen to intervene at this point in the debate.