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Amusements Equipment

Volume 480: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1950

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47.

asked the Lord President of the Council what steps have been taken to enable the manufacturers of amusement equipment in this country to supply the necessary equipment for the amusement park of the Festival of Britain; why German and United States equipment is being sought; and whether he is satisfied that such equipment could not have been produced in this country.

I am informed that Festival Gardens, Ltd. are only seeking certain special additional features in the United States and Germany after extensive inquiries had satisfied them that their needs cannot be met here. The Board includes men of the highest standing in this field and, having full confidence in their judgment, it is proposed to let them get on with their job before it is too late to get anything from anywhere.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a considerable number of manufacturers in this country of this kind of equipment have never been approached and, finally, had to go to the Festival Gardens Board? Because of the publicity given to this matter in the Press it has been stated, in the last two or three days that many of the things which were to be bought from America are now to be obtained here.

I am not aware of that, but what I am aware of is that the Board have made careful inquiries about this matter, and it was felt that as they wanted the Festival to be a real success they had better seek elsewhere for those things which would make it a success.

Will my right hon. Friend convey to the Lord President of the Council the concern that has been expressed from the other side of the House about the maintenance of the control regulations which are envisaged in these Questions?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that our own fair equipment contains excellent examples of English traditional art, and will he remind this company that they are to serve the Festival of Britain and not the Festival of Coney Island?

Does the right hon. Gentleman's answer mean that the Government are prepared to find dollars for amusement while refusing to find dollars for timber required for houses?

No, Sir, it does not, but the Government have confidence in the Board's ability to look after the interests of this country, and, from the information that we have, we are satisfied that those interests are being very well served.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a number of our manufacturers are doing a very good export trade? It will not help them to have German and American goods beside theirs, creating the impression that the Festival of Britain Board cannot find what they want in England?

I would be obliged if the hon. Gentleman would give me the names of the firms which can supply the things which have been obtained elsewhere.

On a point of order. As the right hon. Gentleman has not told us that he has been asked to reply—[HON. MEMBERS: "Yes, he did."]—not in answer to this Question—may I ask him whether he is answering in his own capacity or whether we have the opportunity of congratulating him on his elevation?