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House of Commons

Thursday 26 November 1992

The House met at half-past Two o'clock


[ Madam Speaker-- in the Chair ]


City of Bristol (Portishead Docks) Bill

[Lords] (By Order) Bill read the Third time, and passed, without amendment.

British Railways

(No. 4) Bill-- (By Order)

British Waterways Bill

[Lords] (By Order)

Crossrail Bill

(By Order)

East Coast Main Line (Safety) Bill

(By Order)

Greater Manchester (Light Rapid Transit System)

Bill-- [Lords] (By Order)

Woodgrange Park Cemetery Bill

[Lords] (By Order) Orders for Second Reading read.

To be read a Second time on Thursday 3 December.

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Oral Answers to Questions



1. Mr. Duncan : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures he is taking to encourage co-operation on tourism with the Republic of Ireland.

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. Robert Atkins) : There is close co-operation between the Northern Ireland tourist board and its counterpart in the Republic in areas of mutual benefit to tourism on the island of Ireland. Recent initiatives include a joint travel desk at the British travel centre in London, a reservation system for hotels throughout the island of Ireland, accessible worldwide, and joint marketing in North America and Europe. I am keen to see this co-operation grow.

Mr. Duncan : Does my hon. Friend agree that co-operation with the Republic on a range of matters, including tourism, makes sense politically and economically, and should be welcomed by all communities?

Mr. Atkins : My hon. Friend has put his finger on an extremely important point : if we can co-operate in this area we can do so in many other areas, with the consequent good effects that it might have. I can do no better than draw the House's attention to an example of co-operation in which my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State was involved yesterday, when he launched the north-west passage tourism route. As a north-west Member, I am conscious of the importance to Northern Ireland of the north-west. Such co-operation will prove useful in years to come.

Mr. Madden : Is the Minister aware, however, that the prospects for increasing tourism between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland will be greatly damaged if the rampaging Home Secretary has his way at a meeting of immigration Ministers on Monday, because tourists will have to carry passports, and citizens of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Denmark will be regarded as aliens when they travel to other member states of the European Community?

Mr. Atkins : No more alien than a Member of Parliament from Yorkshire is in Lancashire. The hon. Gentleman raises an important point, which I shall draw to the attention of my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary.

Sir James Kilfedder : Is the Minister aware that the Republic's tourist office in New York deters--or at least seeks to

deter--Americans from extending their visit in the Republic into Northern Ireland, and will he make strong representations to ensure that this practice is brought to an end?

Mr. Atkins : Yes, Madam Speaker.

Mr. Mallon : Far from the Republic of Ireland office deterring tourists from moving on to the north of Ireland, surely one of the strongest deterrents to tourists from the Republic visiting the north is the type of security

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installations that can be seen at almost every point along the border. Does the Minister accept that those who operate in border areas, especially in Newry and South Armagh, face an uphill fight because of these military installations, not least the latest one at Cloughoge, which is a blight on the community and the entire environment?

Mr. Atkins : The hon. Gentleman should address his point to those who cause trouble--terrorists and others involved in paramilitary activity, who make such installations necessary. My task as Minister with responsibilities for tourism is to ensure that we attract as many tourists as possible, but my hon. Friend the Minister of State and the Secretary of State will have heard the hon. Gentleman's comments. They have made great efforts to ensure that the installation to which the hon. Gentleman referred is sited most carefully ; unfortunately, it is necessary because we have terrorists and we must stop them.

Energy Policy

2. Mr. Ian Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on energy policy in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Atkins : Northern Ireland's strategic energy objectives are energy efficiency and the clean production and use of energy, lower costs and the protection of consumer interests, diversification of supply and security of supply.

Mr. Bruce : Will my hon. Friend tell the House what plans he has to privatise electricity in Northern Ireland, and whether he believes that privatisation will bring down the price of electricity both for individual consumers and for industry?

Mr. Atkins : I am grateful to my hon. Friend. As he will know, four power stations completed the first phase of privatisation earlier this year. I had the opportunity to visit one of them and I was most impressed with the achievements of the consortium involved. Clearly, privatisation will produce more competition and improve energy efficiency, and I am sure that the continued plans to privatise Northern Ireland Electricity will be successful. I hope that shares will be made available to a wide range of the public, which will allow them to participate properly in the ownership of Northern Ireland Electricity, as opposed to its being a state-run body.

Mr. Beggs : Does the Minister accept that in the past electricity subsidies to industry were part of our incentive packages? Does he share, or recognise, the concern of high energy using industries in Northern Ireland that the foreseeable increases in their electricity costs may put them out of business, and put out of a job all the people whom they employ? Will the hon. Gentleman go further than he has done to date to protect industry in Northern Ireland from unreasonably high future electricity costs?

Mr. Atkins : With his experience, the hon. Gentleman knows better than anyone that the position in Northern Ireland is unusual, in that we do not have competition from gas--although we have hopes of that in the not- too-distant future--and, as we are a peripheral part of the United Kingdom, there are some troubles involved in the provision of energy. I am aware of the problems

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experienced by some large users, although, as the hon. Gentleman will also be aware, I have managed to obtain a two- year deferral of the implementation of those costs and have invited the companies concerned--incidentally, some of those companies will benefit, although I know that others will not--to take the matter up with the regulator in due course.

Mr. Colvin : Does my hon. Friend agree that for privatisation to work properly there must be competition? What plans has he for restoring the electricity interconnector with the Republic and establishing the interconnector with Scotland?

Mr. Atkins : My hon. Friend will know that the interconnector with the Republic has suffered from terrorist activity and has not been operational for some time. Plans are afoot to deal with the problem by way of alternative connections across the border with the south in other parts of the Province.

With regard to the interconnector with Scotland, we await further confirmation from Commissioner Millan, who came to see us in Northern Ireland not long ago, when we discussed the necessity of a grant. We hope that we shall receive information about that in due course, when we shall be able to implement the physical and energy aspects of that most important connection with the mainland.

Mr. Stott : As I understand it, the interconnector is due to be completed and in place by 1996. According to the Action Group on Northern Ireland Electricity Prices, that interconnector will be used only by Scottish Power and Northern Ireland Electricity for 10 or 15 years, so companies that use 1 MW or more will not have the opportunity to make individual contracts with any other Great Britain supplier. If that is true, how can the Minister claim that the Scottish interconnector will in any way increase competition with Northern Ireland Electricity?

Mr. Atkins : As the hon. Gentleman knows, there are two interconnectors. There is the gas interconnector, which will provide competition. Clearly, the operation of the electricity interconnector is a matter for Northern Ireland Electricity, in co-ordination with Scottish Power. If the hon. Gentleman has particular points to make, such as the one that he has enunciated today, I should like to know more about them, because that is certainly not my understanding at present.

Labour Statistics

3. Mr. Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will give the latest available figures for (a) registered vacancies and (b) unemployment in Northern Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.

5. Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the current level of unemployment in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Atkins : I apologise, Madam Speaker, for being the dominating force at the Dispatch Box this afternoon.

At 2 October 1992, there were 5,374 unfilled vacancies registered at local offices of the Training and Employment Agency. The number of unemployed in Northern Ireland on 8 October was 106,436, a fall of almost 4,000 over the previous month.

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Mr. Barnes : I hope that the answer does not show complacency and that there will be some dominating action in Northern Ireland. The Minister will be aware that unemployment in Northern Ireland, despite the latest figures, is still the highest of any region in the United Kingdom. Unemployment helps to breed resentment and discrimination in Northern Ireland, and it leads to paramilitary activity. Tackling unemployment is probably the highest priority. Will the Government or the Northern Ireland Office be in touch with the newly elected Irish Government, who are expected to take office very soon, to try to work out an economic package for the island of Ireland which will start to tackle unemployment in the area?

Is not it a pity that Ulster Unionist Members do not understand that the Northern Irish people, including the Protestants, express considerable interest in ensuring that the coal industry in this country is not closed down? They therefore resent the vote here the other night.

Mr. Skinner : The question has got the lot in.

Mr. Atkins : As the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) says, the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes) got the lot in. I cannot answer all the points without delaying the House unduly. I know that the hon. Gentleman takes a continuing interest in these matters, so I will address the point about the importance of cross-border trade, which is part and parcel of trying to develop companies, to expand companies and to create new jobs for those who need them. The hon. Gentleman is entirely right to say that Northern Ireland suffers from the worst unemployment of any region, although the slight fall in the past two months is a good sign and should be welcomed. My task and that of my ministerial colleagues is to ensure that we attract companies, that we expand existing companies, that we create new jobs and that, above all, we encourage extra trade between the north and the south.

The hon. Gentleman referred to the Irish Government. I have had conversations with my erstwhile counterpart, Mrs.--[ Hon. Members :-- "Come on!"] I have forgotten her name. She may change her job as a result of the election, but I shall continue to have contacts with her successor, whoever he or she may be.

Mr. Cryer : Is not the complacency of the Minister's reply reflected in the elections in Ireland where the people are voting heavily for a Labour Government of some sort who will revive the Irish economy? Is not the position north of the border the same? People are looking for a Government who will revive manufacturing industry and who will not build an economy on the fragile basis of extended credit. We have a Chancellor of the Exchequer who cannot keep his own financial house in order, although he is supposed to keep the finances of the nation in order. Is not he a reflection of the Government's total failure to provide jobs in Northern Ireland and in the rest of the United Kingdom?

Mr. Atkins : That sounds like another typical Yorkshire rant. We already have a great deal of co-operation with the south. Mrs. O'Rourke, the lady whose name temporarily escaped me, and her successor, whoever she or he may be, will continue to devote a lot of time to developing cross- border trade and to ensuring that questions such as the hon. Gentleman's do not have any foundation in fact.

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Mr. Peter Bottomley : May I turn my hon. Friend back to the question of unemployment? It is a serious issue and not a matter for laughter among Labour Members sitting below the Gangway. The last time that unemployment in Northern Ireland was at the level of unemployment in the rest of the United Kingdom was in 1968. One of the best things to do in building a new consensus on getting more jobs into Northern Ireland is to work not only with the south, as suggested by the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes), but with the new President of the United States so that the United States realises that the way in which to help Northern Ireland is to visit it and to buy goods from it and to understand that violence harms employment.

Mr. Atkins : I entirely agree. That is why, like many hon. Members, and like the people of Northern Ireland, I am delighted to welcome visits such as that made by the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Dr. Hendron) and his colleague from Belfast, who recently went to the United States with a view to developing trade and finding new jobs for Northern Ireland. It is part of the Government's task to do as much as we can to encourage that process--not just in the United States and the south of Ireland but, with the completion of the single market at the beginning of next year, in parts of Europe. We need to attract companies and make them realise that Northern Ireland is a prime place in which to invest, to develop and to create jobs for people, from whatever part of Ireland, who want them.

Mr. Clifford Forsythe : What consideration has the Minister given to creating more employment by providing more finance for roads, in keeping with the policy in the rest of the United Kingdom?

Mr. Atkins : Every Ulster Unionist Member--or his council--has spoken to me about the need for more roads. I have considerable sympathy on this matter. The announcement of the public expenditure allocation for the block is not yet ready, but I know that roads are a subject which is dear to many people's hearts and I shall do what I can to alleviate their concern.

Mr. Barry Field : Given my hon. Friend's concern about unemployment and his answer to the question about peripherality in Northern Ireland, will the Northern Ireland Office be making representations to the Foreign Office on Monday--along with the Isle of Wight, Shetland and Orkney and the Western Isles--asking it to put on the agenda for the Edinburgh summit the agenda of the peripheral maritime regions conference for areas of the EC that are disadvantaged by their dislocation from a mainland country?

Mr. Atkins : As always, my hon. Friend speaks glowingly for his constituency, the Isle of Wight. I did not have it in mind to address that point to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, but if my hon. Friend thinks that the Isle of Wight and other parts of the United Kingdom should be included, perhaps that ought to be considered.

Mr. A. Cecil Walker : Would the Minister care to visit Harland and Wolff with a view to examining employment prospects in its ship repairing section?

Mr. Atkins : The hon. Gentleman extends an invitation which I should be more than happy to accept--again, as I

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have already paid a couple of visits to Harland and Wolff and recently attended the launch of the Knockadoon, which will be most important to Harland and Wolff's future. The hon. Gentleman has a particular concern and interest, and I should be happy to go with him, at a mutually convenient time, to visit the section of Harland and Wolff about which he feels so strongly.

Intergovernmental Talks

4. Mr. Canavan : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a further statement on the talks with Northern Ireland political parties and the Government of the Republic of Ireland about the future of Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Sir Patrick Mayhew) : I am glad to be able to provide a little competition for my hon. Friend the Minister of State.

I have nothing at this stage to add to the substantial statement that I made to the House on 11 November. I remain encouraged that the parties that participated in the talks agree with the two Governments that further dialogue is necessary and desirable and have committed themselves to engage in informal consultations about the way ahead.

Mr. Canavan : Is the Secretary of State aware that there will be a general welcome for his assurance that, whatever the result of the Irish general election, he will do everything possible to ensure that dialogue between the British and Irish Governments--and also, it is to be hoped, between elected representatives representing various views on both sides of the border--will be resumed? Does the Secretary of State agree, however, that such talks would be more meaningful if it were made clear at the outset that the ultimate aim is to negotiate democratically new constitutional arrangements embracing the whole of Ireland, and that such negotiations should continue even if certain politicians decide not to participate?

Sir Patrick Mayhew : I am glad that the hon. Gentleman recognises the desirability of talks taking place after the election is over. In general, that opinion is shared throughout Northern Ireland--and, I am sure, in the Republic. We should continue with the task of trying to establish a new beginning for the totality of relationships within Northern Ireland, between Northern Ireland and the south and between the two islands. That is what we are about. It is bound to take time, but, as long as people are talking, there is value in it, and I believe that we have made valuable progress.

Mr. Peter Robinson : When the complexion of the new Government in the Irish Republic is known, will the Secretary of State determine whether they are prepared to work towards the withdrawal of their territorial claim to Northern Ireland? If he feels that the Irish Government are prepared to work in that direction, will he assure them that the Unionist community in Northern Ireland would be delighted to see a Government in the Irish Republic who want to take the first and basic step towards a friendly relationship with Northern Ireland?

Sir Patrick Mayhew : I realise the significance of articles 2 and 3 of the Irish constitution to many people in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. I think that

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I must leave it--and I can do so with some confidence--to the Unionist community in Northern Ireland to make its views on this matter clear to the incoming Government.

Mr. Trimble : Does the Secretary of State agree that the constitutional future of Northern Ireland is and can be a matter for the people of Northern Ireland and the House only? Does he agree that any questions about the future institutions of government in or affecting Northern Ireland should, similarly, be a matter solely for the people of Northern Ireland and the House? Does he appreciate that our anxiety to remedy the democratic deficit in Northern Ireland with regard to those institutions should be addressed by him and the Government as soon as possible?

Sir Patrick Mayhew : The House knows about what has come to be called the constitutional guarantee, and I need not recite it. The guarantee relates to the opinion of the greater number of people living in Northern Ireland and their wish to remain part of the United Kingdom.

Questions of democratic status which relate to political structures within Northern Ireland are part of what we have been addressing in the past six or seven months. They are an important part. Of course, any changes that may be necessary are a matter for the House. It is also necessary to examine the question of north-south relationships as well as internal relationships to see whether we can reach an accommodation of all the legitimate interests in the affairs of Northern Ireland. That is what we have been trying to do for the past six or seven months. That is what the people of the Province have told me that they wish to see continue. It will take some time.

Dr. Hendron : I know that the Secretary of State is aware that the talks are very much to do with peace and the historic conflict between the two communities. Above all, the talks are to do with the preservation of human life and law and order on our streets. The Secretary of State is aware that yesterday afternoon a young man named Pearse Jordan was shot dead on the Falls road in the heart of my constituency in circumstances which are causing great concern to my constituents. Therefore, I ask the Secretary of State to set up an independent inquiry into all the circumstances surrounding the death of Pearse Jordan, bearing inmind--

Madam Speaker : Order. If the hon. Gentleman would hold his fire for a while he would see that we have security questions later on the Order Paper. At present his question is not appropriate to question 4 with which we are now dealing. If the hon. Gentleman will relate his question to question 4, of course I shall hear him. However, if he looks at the Order Paper, he will see that it contains specific questions about security.

Sir Patrick Mayhew : I understand the hon. Gentleman's deep concern. If we do not reach the security questions, I undertake to see him and deal fully with the question that he has asked. I slightly take issue with what the hon. Gentleman said at the beginning--that the talks are about peace. The talks are not essentially about peace ; they relate to the resolution of an ancient quarrel that has taken place over many centuries and which is still unresolved. We need a

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resolution of the conflicts between competing interests in Northern Ireland. I shall come to the important point that the hon. Gentleman raised if I can.

Lady Olga Maitland : What steps is my right hon. Friend taking to reassure President-elect Clinton, following his remarks during the election campaign that he proposed to send a peace envoy to Northern Ireland? Will he inform President-elect Clinton that serious discussions are going on between all political parties and that they will continue to do so?

Sir Patrick Mayhew : I know that President-elect Clinton has been made well aware of the matter by our ambassador in the United States and by other means. It is important to make a distinction between what may be said in the heat of the contest of a presidential election and what may become the steady policy of the incoming Administration. I share my hon. Friend's concern. We had better wait and see how things develop.

Mr. McNamara : It might be a good idea if people read the letter that was sent. There was no mention of a peace envoy as such. Will the Secretary of State confirm that he welcomes any constructive help, aid, assistance and investment from the United States--such as the investment that has gone to Derry from Boston? I come back to the talks and the opportunities that they will provide for the new Government of the Republic in the new year. The Secretary of State has said that the talks are informal, bilateral discussions. At what time and at what point will the Secretary of State think it possible to have more structured discussions within the context of seeking that solution?

Sir Patrick Mayhew : We must wait to see how things develop. I know that the parties want to talk to each other bilaterally and that the Governments want to do so. I hope that we shall do so before Christmas. We shall have to see how we get on. Procedures, structures and the rest of it are the servants of the participants. We do not want to hold to one format or another, simply for the sake of it. The main thing is to get down to the business and keep talking business until we reach an agreement.

Mr. Hume : Given that 42 million people in the United States declared that they were Irish in the last census, and that those 42 million have roots in Ireland both north and south, does the Secretary of State agree that a powerful relationship can be cultivated on behalf of the people of Ireland, north and south? In particular, we could develop an economic relationship with a view to marketing the products of our small and medium-sized enterprises and securing inward investment. Does he agree that an envoy appointed for that purpose would be a positive appointment?

Sir Patrick Mayhew : An envoy appointed for that purpose would certainly be helpful. However, I pay tribute to the American ambassador here, who takes a great deal of trouble over Northern Ireland. He comes frequently and knows a great deal about it. I agree with what the hon. Gentleman said. Yesterday I visited the Ulster American Folk museum near Omagh. Last year 130,000 people visited the museum. A great majority were from the United States. I am glad to see that that tourist interest is beginning to be matched by commercial interest. There are

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hopeful signs of continuing American investment in Northern Ireland, which is an extremely good place for anyone to invest.

Inward Investment

6. Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps will be taken to promote inward investment in Northern Ireland following the report from the Northern Ireland Economic Council on job creation ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Patrick Mayhew : The Industrial Development Board's inward investment activity is reviewed regularly. I am pleased to be able to inform the hon. Member that action has already been taken to address a number of the recommendations contained in the economic council's report and that the others are being carefully considered.

Mr. McGrady : Does the Secretary of State agree that the report of the Northern Ireland Economic Council is depressing reading for the people of Northern Ireland? It shows that the number of firms inwardly investing was reduced by 41 per cent. between 1973 and 1990, with a consequent loss of employment in those sectors of 52 per cent. We can no longer hide behind the question of a terrorist image because, at the same time, the Republic of Ireland increased its inward investment by 27 per cent. Does the Secretary of State agree that the change in policy by the IDB some two years ago, to concentrate on product design and marketing rather than targeting the creation of jobs, needs to be examined by the Department? Will he give an undertaking to insist that the IDB honours its commitment to spread visits to Northern Ireland to South Down? Only 4 per cent. of visits in the past four years were to my constituency.

Sir Patrick Mayhew : The report to which the hon. Gentleman refers speaks for itself. It acknowledges the difficulty of attracting internationally mobile investment to Northern Ireland at a time when competition for investment is increasing. Nevertheless, the report makes specific recommendations. It calls for a more focused approach. Accordingly, the IDB is concentrating increasingly on the industrial sectors and sub-sectors which hold the greatest potential for Northern Ireland.

Of course, that report has been taken closely on board and the hon. Gentleman will see some changes in consequence. He mentioned South Down and I pay tribute to Down/Chicago Link Ltd, which has established structures in Down and Chicago, thanks to several visits by and the unstinted efforts of the hon. Gentleman.

Rev. Ian Paisley : Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that the spate of violence in Northern Ireland is spiralling--the heart of Coleraine has been bombed and the heart of Belfast has almost been bombed again? Will he take it from me that the best thing that he could do would be to get on top of that violence and deal with it? Then people would have the confidence to invest in Northern Ireland.

Sir Patrick Mayhew : Of course I agree that the security situation in Northern Ireland is very disadvantageous to investment. I hear a great many commentators referring to the need to get on top of the IRA, implying that more should be done that is not being done by the security

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forces, but I find them exceedingly short when it comes to giving particulars of what should be done that is different in character, quality or scale from what is being done.

Mr. John D. Taylor : While there is criticism within the business community about the performance of the IDB, does the Secretary of State agree that several negative factors are working against it, such as the IRA terrorist campaign and the worldwide recession? In view of factors of that nature, would it not be better advised to concentrate on giving greater assistance to Ulster business men and industrialists who are creating jobs in Northern Ireland?

Sir Patrick Mayhew : It is a question of balance. I agree that one does not want a single-minded concentration on the attraction of inward investment. I am glad that the IDB has about 460 companies on its books and that it looks for ways to help established companies, which I agree is just as important.

Mr. Viggers : Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that occasionally the people of Northern Ireland do not seem to appreciate the enormous effort and vast resources which have gone into improving the infrastructure there? If the menace of terrorism were lifted there is no reason why it should not be as prosperous, and have as low a level of unemployment, as any part of the United Kingdom.

Sir Patrick Mayhew : My hon. Friend had a distinguished career as a Minister in Northern Ireland and knows a great deal about that sort of thing. An enormous amount of work has been done. Coming as I do from the underprivileged south-east of England, I envy the people of Northern Ireland for many of their roads, although I realise that much more needs to be done. All people who speak about terrorism should remember that the ordinary people of Northern Ireland suffer from the crimes committed by the terrorists, who will not succeed and have no prospect of achieving the political aim of the IRA or of any other terrorist organisation. One and all, they take it out on the people of Northern Ireland.

Mr. McNamara : The Secretary of State will recall that the Northern Ireland Economic Council recommended that an extensive and independent review be undertaken to evaluate the overall impact of inward investment. He has said that he has taken on board some of the points made by the council. Can he say whether he will have such an independent review?

Sir Patrick Mayhew : Several months ago my hon. Friend who has responsibility for the economy instituted a review by the IDB's chairman and the permanent secretary of the Department of Economic Development on IDB's promotion activity. The review has been completed and the recommended changes are being discussed. We want to get on and we do not want too many reviews. We want to consider the changes recommended and see what we can do to get on with it.


7. Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures he is taking to promote tourism in Northern Ireland.

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10. Mr. Fabricant : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures he is taking to promote tourism in Londonderry.

Mr. Atkins : Following a review of tourism in 1989 and the introduction of new tourism legislation in April this year, the Northern Ireland tourist board has been reorganised and resourced to take forward the promotion, marketing and development of tourism throughout Northern Ireland. In addition, district councils are being encouraged to develop tourist amenities in their areas. My overall aim is to maximise the contribution that tourism makes to the Northern Ireland economy and this, of course, includes Londonderry.

Mr. Evans : I welcome my hon. Friend's response to that question about tourism and to earlier questions on the subject asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Duncan). Does the Minister agree that if we are to encourage more tourists to the Province, we must give high-quality training to personnel concerned with tourism?

Mr. Atkins : My hon. Friend is right, because unless good-quality service is given to those who come to Northern Ireland, they will not come again. The crucial factor is that those who come to the Pronvince and see its beauties, however they perceive them, know that they must come again. The quality of service provided by properly trained staff at all levels is fundamental.

Mr. Fabricant : Will my hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to people from all the communities in Londonderry for their hard work in regenerating the centre of that city and making it a tourist attraction? Will he also join me in paying tribute to the people of Helen's Bay, Portrush, Newcastle and all parts of Northern Ireland, and all the beautiful places that I know exist there, because I have visited them and hope to visit them again?

Mr. Atkins : I can say without equivocation that if my hon. Friend returns again with as many friends as he cares to bring, he will be extremely welcome. A special plaudit is due to the citizens of Derry for all that they have achieved in recent months and years in providing a tourism attraction. I think particularly of the Tower museum and the craft village that has been created, largely as a result of the work done by the council, by Paddy Doherty of the inner city trust and, above all, by the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume), who has done an enormous amount to help in that respect.

Mr. Hume : Does the Minister agree that good communications, particularly air travel, are essential? Will he ensure that airport facilities in the north-west are brought up to the standard that we in that area want, so helping tourism to increase?

Mr. Atkins : I am tempted to say watch this air space. I agree entirely with the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. William Ross : Does the Minister agree that if we are to improve the standards of hotel and catering establishments, we should make available to the catering college at Portrush the maximum support it requires to produce the proper quality of staff? Does he further agree that among the glories of tourism in Northern Ireland are the wonderful beaches along the north coast? Will he

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ensure that the raw sewage that is at present pouring across some of them is properly dealt with before it goes into the sea?

Mr. Atkins : I recently visited the catering college in Portrush and was impressed with the quality of meal that I was given and the work that I saw being done. The attractions of Portrush, Portstewart and other places, not least the golf course and Bushmill's distillery, are all contributory factors to the attractions offered to tourists by that part of Northern Ireland. I shall do all I can to help in that respect. I shall investigate the point that the hon. Gentleman raised about sewage.

Community Care

8. Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the estimated amount of money allocated for the introduction of the community care programme in April 1993 in Northern Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Jeremy Hanley) : My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State announced on 19 November 1992 that the funds to be transferred from social security to the health and personal social services in Northern Ireland to support the changes in the community care arrangements from April 1993 will amount to £24.63 million in 1993-94, rising to £65.28 million in 1994-95 and to £100.33 million in 1995-96. Any additional funds secured in the public expenditure round will be announced at the conclusion of the survey.

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