MERIDEN is the heart of England and the centre of a growing tourist industry.
Around 8.1 per cent of people in this constituency are employed in the tourism and hospitality sectors and a larger number who live elsewhere work in our local hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants and bars.
The Government is conscious of the importance of tourism, especially during 2012 which will see the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, which we expect to generate more than £2 billion in visitor spend and around 60,000 jobs.
Support for the industry is vital and we have begun to tackle legislation that has been holding it back.
The Tourism Regulatory Task Force report identified more than 60 out of 102 regulations affecting the hospitality sector which will now be abolished, merged or simplified. As for live entertainment licensing, we plan to remove much of the bureaucracy that discourages people from organising concerts, plays and other performances.
We have also supported the creation of a new Hospitality Guide to improve skills and productivity.
To help owners of holiday lets across the country, the Chancellor has agreed better taxation treatment.
Additionally, there are new measures to directly benefit businesses and workers in our hospitality sector. £150million will be spent on marketing Great Britain at home and abroad: Visit Britain’s ‘You’re Invited’ Campaign is already underway. Tourists will find it easier to visit Britain thanks to the increased number of places where they can get a biometric visa and by online visa processing later this year.
All these improvements will make a difference in Meriden as tourists often use this area as a base for visiting places such as Warwick Castle and the Shakespeare sites around Stratford.
With Birmingham Airport in our midst and newer foreign air routes being added, this is likely to increase. Our two rail lines serving London and beyond, and our good bus and coach services are also in our favour.