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Area of Tourist                  |Comprising area of                                               



Shetland                         |Shetland Council.                                                

Orkney                           |Orkney Council.                                                  

Western Isles                    |Western Isles Council.                                           

Highland                         |Highland Council.                                                

Grampian                         |City of Aberdeen Council;                                        

                                 |Aberdeenshire Council;                                           

                                 |Moray Council.                                                   

Tayside                          |Angus Council;                                                   

                                 |City of Dundee Council.                                          

Fife                             |Fife Council.                                                    

Perthshire                       |Perthshire and Kinross Council.                                  

Argyll and Bute                  |Argyll and Bute Council.                                         

Central                          |Clackmannan and Falkirk Council;                                 

                                 |Dumbarton and Clydebank Council;                                 

                                 |Stirling Council.                                                

Glasgow and Clyde Valley         |City of Glasgow Council;                                         

                                 |Inverclyde Council;                                              

                                 |Renfrewshire Council;                                            

                                 |East Renfrewshire Council: East                                  

                                 |Dunbartonshire Council;                                          

                                 |North Lanarkshire Council;                                       

                                 |South Lanarkshire Council.                                       

Edinburgh and Lothian            |City of Edinburgh Council;                                       

                                 |East and Mid Lothian Council;                                    

                                 |West Lothian Council.                                            

Scottish Borders                 |The Borders Council.                                             

Ayrshire and Arran               |East Ayrshire Council;                                           

                                 |North Ayrshire Council;                                          

                                 |South Ayrshire Council.                                          

Dumfries and Galloway            |Dumfries and Galloway Council.'.                                 

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse) : With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following : Amendment (a) to the amendment, leave out from "Glasgow and Clyde Valley" to "South Lanarkshire Council" and insert


Glasgow                      |City of Glasgow Council;                                 

                             |Inverclyde Council;                                      

                             |Renfrewshire Council;                                    

                             |East Renfrewshire Council;                               

                             |East Dumbartonshire Council.                             

Clyde Valley                 |North Lanarkshire Council;                               

                             |South Lanarkshire Council.                               

Amendment No. 4, in clause 167, page 112, line 31, leave out may be specified in the order'

and insert

specified in Schedule ( Area Tourist Boards ) to this Act.'. No. 191, in clause 171, page 117, line 32, leave out in their area'.

Mrs. Michie : I should say at the outset that I do not wish to prejudice any other colleague, particularly in the highlands, who may wish to see a change to the proposed tourist board arrangements. That includes the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson), and the amendment in his name.

It was with considerable astonishment, and not a little dismay, that the announcement of the revised tourist board structure was greeted by myself and the people of Argyll and Bute. As we all know, there has been no member from the highlands and islands sitting on the committee and that has been a grave omission.

I am grateful for the opportunity now to move the amendment, for which I seek the support of the Minister and the House. The amendment would include in the Bill the list of area tourist boards as announced by the Secretary of State, but add to it one more, to be named Argyll and Bute, which would be coterminous with the new local authority area.

Previously in Argyll and Bute, there were four tourist boards, but it is now accepted that there should be one. But never in our wildest dreams--or is it nightmares ?--was it considered possible that the Secretary of State would agree to Argyll and Bute being lumped in with Stirling, Clackmannan, Falkirk, Dumbarton and Clydebank and being given the unwieldy name of the Loch Lomond, Stirling and Trossachs, Argyll and Bute tourist board. What a mess.

Granted, for the traveller seeking to discover Scotland, those are names to conjure with, but Clackmannan has little in common with Colonsay or Coll. In its original submission in response to the Scottish Office and Scottish tourist board consultation papers, a working party representing a wide range of tourist interests in Argyll and Bute clearly expressed the view that there must be one tourist board to cover the new local authority area. Therefore, there was deep frustration at the inability to have a meaningful dialogue on the matter. Consultation is a two-way process, but there has been none of that in this case.

Not only is Argyll and Bute one of most gloriously beautiful parts of Scotland--many hon. Members have spent happy and relaxing holidays there-- but it is unique, because of the number of islands within its boundaries. There are some 550 islands, of which 28 are inhabited. It covers an area of 2,500 sq m and has a coast line longer in distance than that from Calais to Gibraltar.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan) : May I endorse what the hon. Lady is saying about her constituency ? She may remember that, when I was on holiday in her constituency, she came to hold a surgery in Colonsay. Although I did not avail myself of the opportunity--I spent the time on the golf course instead--that is a ringing endorsement of the hon. Lady's attitude towards her constituency.

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Mrs. Michie : I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I remember him visiting Colonsay and playing on the golf course--in among the sheep, as I recall.

By its nature, Argyll and Bute is crucially different from the urban conurbations with which the Bill would link it. It does not have the same day-visitor identity as Loch Lomond and Stirling castle. Its prime objective is to attract people more to resort destinations than to tourist areas. That relies not just on road and rail transport but on ferry and air travel to the islands and remote mainland havens. Surely the setting up of a new structure should always follow a decision on the purpose and the function. One decides what one wants to do and how one wants to do it and then one creates the structure.

The purpose and function in this case is to make tourism, which is a vital industry in Argyll and Bute, flourish and be successful. There is already a great deal of co-operation between the existing public and private bodies. It is only logical, therefore, that there should be one local authority, one enterprise company and one tourist board. A detailed study of the financial viability of such a board concluded that the potential grant- funding and the likely savings in expenditure would indeed make it financially viable. That confirmed an earlier report commissioned by the Argyll and Islands enterprise company.

If the amendment is not accepted, the downside is that there would be without a doubt a significant drop in tourism and in the associated income. There would be an increase in administration costs in an effort to maintain the identity of the area and--I know this for certain--there would be an upsurge of small groups seeking to promote their own particular corner. Many of those who are closely

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involved in the work of the tourist boards would simply walk away because of a sense of isolation and non- compatibility with the Government's proposed huge board. To make a rural tourist board successful, those involved need to feel a sense of belonging and ownership.

The Secretary of State has already accepted the logic of having separate island tourist boards. Argyll and Bute is little different and has, over the years, built up a distinct industry. We must remember that it is subject to objective 1 status and will be eligible for EC funding. The European Community has identified tourism as a crucial growth area. It would be ironic if the Government, having turned Argyll and Bute into a single-tier local authority and removed it from Strathclyde, which the Prime Minister once unwisely described as a monstrosity, put it back into another huge area.

The amendment is supported by many organisations--Argyll and Bute district council, the Bute and Cowal tourist board, the West Highlands and Islands of Argyll tourist board, the local enterprise company--and by the chairman of the Scottish Confederation of Tourism. To achieve cohesion and a sense of purpose in promoting the distinctive, historical, cultural, social and economic features of the area, I urge the Minister and the House to take the sensible course and accept the logic and desirability of an Argyll and Bute tourist board.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mrs. Michie) argued that we should reconsider the proposal for an Argyll- Stirling tourist board. The amendment would remove the flexibility of action that we intend in relation to future changes in tourist board area boundaries. We hope that it will not be necessary to alter those boundaries, but if, for whatever reason, change is required at some time in the future, we need the power to be able to achieve that change quickly and easily. Such a proposal is contained in the Bill--a change can be achieved by an order made under clauses 168 and 169--but if we agreed to the amendment, the Bill would have to be changed.

In its advice, the Scottish tourist board was strongly of the view that a board which comprised the new Argyll and Bute, Stirling, Clackmannan and Falkirk unitary authorities would be a major player in Scottish tourism. Contrary to what has been claimed, the STB believed that such a board would cover a marketable area with considerable synergy between mainland Argyll-- [Hon. Members : "Synergy ?"] Yes, synergy. There would be considerable synergy between mainland Argyll, rural Stirling and Clackmannan, with Loch Lomond, which I am sure the hon. Lady would agree is a destination of international renown, as the central feature.

I agree that the considerable market appeal, coupled with the gateway status of Stirling, will bring induced benefit to less visited areas such as Clackmannan, Cowal and Kintyre. It would also provide a stronger mainland area to service the remote and fragile Argyll islands. Of course, it would be expected to be financially viable.

Analysis of current funding shows that two separate areas would be financially weak in comparison with many of the other boards and underlines fears already experienced in Argyll and Bute that a separate board for the area could not compete or survive. I am aware of the report, to which the hon. Lady referred, on an Argyll and Bute tourist board. However, I am not convinced by its claims that an Argyll and Bute area tourist board would be

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financially viable. We are aware that in the recent past the West Highlands and Argyll board has experienced financial difficulties and, as a consequence, has received substantial financial assistance from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish tourist board. Against that background, Argyll and Bute district council's report strikes too optimistic a note. Some of its claims for the new Argyll and central Scotland area tourist board are completely misplaced. Therefore, with regret I cannot support the hon. Lady's amendment. I recommend accordingly that the House rejects it.

8.15 pm

Mrs. Ray Michie : I am disappointed with the Minister's reply. He has a number of facts wrong and he has been misinformed. The Scottish tourist board was wrong to give the Scottish Office and the Minister that advice. It did so without consulting people in Argyll and Bute and without conducting any sort of dialogue or discussion with them. For the Minister to say that Stirling and Clackmannan is a gateway to Kintyre or Oban is just not credible.

I find it extraordinary that the Minister should maintain that an Argyll and Bute tourist board, which would include Helensburgh, would not be financially viable and that he is rejecting the report by the local enterprise company. I hope that he will reconsider the matter and that it will be considered again in another place. Therefore, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 1 --

New Local Government Areas

Amendment proposed : No. 25, in page 124, line 8, leave out Banff and Buchan District Council'.--[ Mr. Salmond .]

Question put , That the amendment be made :

The House divided : Ayes 20, Noes 265.

Division No. 243] [8.16 pm


Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)

Carlile, Alexander (Montgomry)

Dafis, Cynog

Foster, Don (Bath)

Harvey, Nick

Johnston, Sir Russell

Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)

Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S)

Kirkwood, Archy

Llwyd, Elfyn

Lynne, Ms Liz

Maclennan, Robert

Maddock, Mrs Diana

Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll Bute)

Rendel, David

Salmond, Alex

Skinner, Dennis

Taylor, Matthew (Truro)

Tyler, Paul

Wallace, James

Tellers for the Ayes :

Mrs. Margaret Ewing and

Mr. Andrew Welsh.


Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)

Alexander, Richard

Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)

Allason, Rupert (Torbay)

Amess, David

Arbuthnot, James

Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)

Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)

Ashby, David

Aspinwall, Jack

Atkins, Robert

Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)

Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North)

Baldry, Tony

Banks, Matthew (Southport)

Banks, Robert (Harrogate)

Bates, Michael

Batiste, Spencer

Bellingham, Henry

Bendall, Vivian

Biffen, Rt Hon John

Blackburn, Dr John G.

Body, Sir Richard

Bonsor, Sir Nicholas

Booth, Hartley

Boswell, Tim

Column 888

Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)

Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia

Bowden, Andrew

Bowis, John

Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes

Brandreth, Gyles

Brazier, Julian

Bright, Graham

Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)

Browning, Mrs. Angela

Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)

Budgen, Nicholas

Burns, Simon

Burt, Alistair

Butler, Peter

Carlisle, John (Luton North)

Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)

Carrington, Matthew

Carttiss, Michael

Cash, William

Channon, Rt Hon Paul

Churchill, Mr

Clappison, James

Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)

Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif)

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coe, Sebastian

Colvin, Michael

Congdon, David

Conway, Derek

Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)

Coombs, Simon (Swindon)

Cope, Rt Hon Sir John

Couchman, James

Cran, James

Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)

Davies, Quentin (Stamford)

Davis, David (Boothferry)

Day, Stephen

Deva, Nirj Joseph

Devlin, Tim

Dickens, Geoffrey

Dicks, Terry

Dorrell, Stephen

Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James

Dover, Den

Duncan, Alan

Duncan-Smith, Iain

Dunn, Bob

Durant, Sir Anthony

Elletson, Harold

Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter

Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)

Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)

Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)

Evans, Roger (Monmouth)

Evennett, David

Faber, David

Fabricant, Michael

Fairbairn, Sir Nicholas

Fenner, Dame Peggy

Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)

Fishburn, Dudley

Forman, Nigel

Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)

Forth, Eric

Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)

Freeman, Rt Hon Roger

French, Douglas

Fry, Sir Peter

Gallie, Phil

Gardiner, Sir George

Garel-Jones, Rt Hon Tristan

Garnier, Edward

Gill, Christopher

Gillan, Cheryl

Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles

Gorman, Mrs Teresa

Gorst, John

Grant, Sir A. (Cambs SW)

Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)

Greenway, John (Ryedale)

Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)

Grylls, Sir Michael

Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn

Hague, William

Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie

Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)

Hampson, Dr Keith

Hannam, Sir John

Hargreaves, Andrew

Harris, David

Haselhurst, Alan

Hawkins, Nick

Hayes, Jerry

Heald, Oliver

Heathcoat-Amory, David

Hendry, Charles

Hicks, Robert

Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L.

Hill, James (Southampton Test)

Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)

Horam, John

Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter

Howard, Rt Hon Michael

Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)

Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)

Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)

Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)

Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)

Hunter, Andrew

Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas

Jackson, Robert (Wantage)

Jenkin, Bernard

Jessel, Toby

Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)

Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)

Jopling, Rt Hon Michael

Key, Robert

Kirkhope, Timothy

Knapman, Roger

Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)

Knight, Greg (Derby N)

Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'st'n)

Knox, Sir David

Kynoch, George (Kincardine)

Lait, Mrs Jacqui

Lang, Rt Hon Ian

Lawrence, Sir Ivan

Legg, Barry

Leigh, Edward

Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)

Lidington, David

Lightbown, David

Lilley, Rt Hon Peter

Lloyd, Rt Hon Peter (Fareham)

Lord, Michael

Luff, Peter

MacGregor, Rt Hon John

MacKay, Andrew

Maclean, David

McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick

Malone, Gerald

Mans, Keith

Marlow, Tony

Marshall, John (Hendon S)

Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel)

Martin, David (Portsmouth S)

Mates, Michael

Mawhinney, Rt Hon Dr Brian

Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick

Merchant, Piers

Mills, Iain

Moate, Sir Roger

Montgomery, Sir Fergus

Moss, Malcolm

Newton, Rt Hon Tony

Nicholls, Patrick

Nicholson, David (Taunton)

Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)

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