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Wales Tourist Board

Volume 130: debated on Monday 21 March 1988

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4.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he last met the chairman of the Wales tourist board; and what matters were discussed.

My right hon. Friend last met the chairman on 13 January and discussed a range of issues. I met the chairman and the board on 19 February.

Will the Minister tell the House whether the Secretary of State has discussed with the chairman of the Wales tourist board the effects of the arson campaign on second homes in Wales, which we all deprecate and condemn entirely? Has he had any response from the tourist board of the effect on the tourist industry, in view of the 130 houses which have now been burnt and the many people who are now having difficulty in getting insurance on holiday homes? What initiatives has his right hon. Friend taken to bring this campaign to an end?

I am glad to hear the hon. Gentleman condemn the arson campaign, and this morning I was glad to read in the Liverpool Daily Post the condemnation of the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Dr. Thomas). Naturally, my right hon. Friend and I join in that condemnation. We wholly deplore the arson campaign. The matter was not specifically discussed with the Wales tourst board, which is not the responsible body. It is a matter for the police and the Home Office.

As Welsh lamb is a delicacy much enjoyed by tourists, was the Minister able to assure the chairman of the Wales tourist board that no radioactive lamb contaminated above the official safety levels was sold in Wales, as it undoubtedly was in England due to official bungling?

I beg to doubt the hon. Lady's statement. Naturally we have taken every possible precaution to ensure that lamb that contains radiation above the accepted levels has not been sold. We have taken every possible step to prevent that, and I am glad to say that the outlook for the future is improving.

Is it not singularly inappropriate at this time that there should be this campaign of burning down holiday homes, in view of the fact that numerous people in many countries, including Wales, are now buying second homes in other countries, such as Spain, Italy and France? Is that not incongruous?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and I think that the entire House deplores the arson campaign that has been going on, as the hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley) described. We wholly deplore it. It is needless, cowardly and thoroughly condemned by the people of Wales as a whole. It does irreparable harm to tourism and our reputation as a hospitable nation.