§ Mr. Mike Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many applications for assistance under Section 4 of the Tourism Act 1969 have been approved by the English Tourist Board although they had been, respectively, rejected or deferred for further consideration by the relevant regional tourist board in each of the last three years.
§ Mr. Meacher
Under the Act, responsibility for deciding Section 4 applications rests solely with the English Tourist Board—unless it wishes to give assistance exceeding its delegated authority, in which case I am consulted. It is rare for ETB decisions to be contrary to the advice of the regional boards, but to give a precise figure would involve disproportionate effort and cost as it would be necessary to individually check over 1,000 applications under Section 4 made to the ETB during the period 1975–1977 to ascertain what were the views of the regional boards in every case. In the case of the Northumbria Tourist Board, which would have considered about a quarter of the successful applications in the last three years, the ETB says that in one such case it did not follow the Northumbria Board's advice.