asked the Paymaster General what representations he has received regarding the effects on the tourist industry and the numbers of visitors to the United Kingdom of overcharging by bureaux de change.
My Department has received complaints about various practices adopted by certain bureaux de change operators and I recognise that a poor impression can be created for overseas visitors. The Government would not seek to control exchange rates or commission charges but we are concerned that these should be clearly displayed so that prospective customers are aware of the terms before they commit themselves. The British Tourist Authority introduced a voluntary code of practice in 1986 requiring prominent display of both rates and charges and this has been widely adopted. The proposed Consumer Protection Bill will include a statutory code of practice in this respect and a number of operators have already agreed to adhere to its proposed provisions on a voluntary basis in the meantime.