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Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 12 May 1987

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asked the Paymaster General what information he has on the amount of income that has been generated by tourism in the East Midlands tourist board area in each year since 1978.

In the East Midlands tourist board area, spending increased from £145 million in 1978 to over £375 million in 1985.

A table giving full information has been placed in the Library.

As Leicester currently has an underdeveloped potential as a major tourist area, it is not surprising that it still needs those grants. As I intend to be re-elected, may I ask my hon. Friend to ensure that Leicester receives the full status of a tourism development action programme area? That would bring additional jobs to the area and ensure that the 1·5 million jobs in the tourist industry would be increased, particularly in Leicester.

After all the hard work that he has done, I am quite certain that my hon. Friend will be re-elected. As we all know, he is a very assiduous and able advocate for his constituents.

My hon. Friend asked about the tourist development action programme. It is for the English Tourist Board to decide, but I can tell him that it welcomes applications of that kind.

Is the Minister aware that women, including women in the east midlands, who represent two thirds of hotel and catering workers are being paid poverty wages? Full-time workers receive just over £80 a week and part-time workers receive £2·03 an hour. In view of the very high profits in the tourist industry—and we are not sorry about those profits—does the Minister agree that it is about time that some of those profits were directed towards the low-paid?

It is important that the hon. Lady is heard loud and clear not to be knocking the tourist industry or the jobs in it. That is the last thing that we want when we are trying to raise its status.

The hon. Lady referred to low pay. That is precisely the reason why, when we were considering the Wages Bill, now an Act of Parliament, that we decided to retain wages council protection. She obviously welcomes that protection, as do many Conservative Members, for those aged 21 and over.