HOTELS and restaurants are losing business because of the strong pound, says Conservative MP Michael Fabricant.

"It's crazy that you can pay double for a meal in London what you would pay in New York," said the Lichfield MP. "Americans simply cannot afford to come here any more."

Fabricant asked Culture Secretary Chris Smith in the Commons what hope there was of attracting visitors to the UK when prices were so high.

Smith (pictured) agreed that exchange rates were an important factor, but added: "Despite the strong pound, overseas visits and expenditure in the first 10 months to October 1997 were up by 1% over the previous year."

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