§ 5. Mr. Butterfill
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total value of Britain's invisible exports in 1987; and what percentage of this sum is attributable to the tourism and leisure industry.
§ Mr. Butterfill
Does my hon. Friend agree that that creditable figure reflects favourably on the investment by the industry and on the activities of the British Tourist 155 Authority and the English tourist board? What does the figure represent in terms of tourist numbers, and what effect has it had on employment?
§ Ms. Short
Is the Minister aware that the tourism and leisure industry is one of the worst payers in Britain, yet it is a profitable sector? Is he further aware that 40 per cent. of the work force are paid less than £132 a week, yet he tells us that the minimum protection provided by wages councils will be reduced? How can he justify that? Jobs are no good unless they give people decent incomes and dignity at work. The Minister is encouraging low-paid work, no training and a slum economy. That is the future for Britain.
§ Mr. Lee
May I say in personal terms that we are sorry that the hon. Lady is not in her customary place. Salaries and overall conditions of employment in tourism and hospitality are improving. Many of the better companies in the industry put huge amounts of money into training. I agree that more emphasis must be placed on training and the overall remuneration package, because staff turnover in the industry is unacceptable. But the position is getting substantially better.
§ Mr. Harry Greenway
How much did those 15.4 million visitors bring in foreign exchange? Is there a limit to the number of foreign visitors who can be accommodated comfortably in tourist inns?
§ Mr. Strang
What effect will the appreciation of sterling have on invisible exports in general and on tourism in particular?