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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 said that I opposed the cuts in the BTA, which are short-sighted and barmy economics, cutting off our nose to spite our face. In the long term, its budget should have been sustained, if we are to believe what the Secretary of State said at great length this morning about the Government's commitment to tourism.

We hear that the Secretary of State has had some argy-bargy with the chairman of her party, who has been bullying her into being more active in defence of the Government's policies, and we have seen the result today: she came along with an incoherent speech and nothing new to say. She must be wondering who needs enemies, when she has friends and colleagues like that.

Today, we have been given the opportunity to expose the Government's failure to do anything new on tourism in the past few years or to produce any coherent view of its future development. The industry, the Select Committee and Labour have policy ideas for the future of tourism, but the very person who should have such ideas, the Secretary of State, has none. The best that can be said of her speech today is that she seems to have taken a policy holiday on the future of tourism.

The Secretary of State has acquiesced this week in plenty of policies against the best interests of the industry, which will be served, as she said, when the people have the opportunity to vote; when they do so, they will give the right hon. Lady and her colleagues a long holiday in Opposition—and the sooner the better.