§ MR. MUNRO-FERGUSON
asked the President of the Board of Trade, Whether, in view of the statement by the Select Committee on Harbour Accommodation, page 12, paragraph 17, that—Your Committee fully concurs in the principles laid down by Sir Thomas Farrer for the selection of harbours which may be aided by means of loans at a low rate of interest, viz.:—The recommendations of the Committee that a small Commission be appointed to inquire into this subject, with a view of determining the exact sites at which harbour works could be carried out, will be adopted; whether the recommendations to the same effect, given by the Crofters' Commission—
- (a.) That refuge and shelter should be considered more important than mere facilities to trade;
- (b.) That fishery harbours, especially when belonging to, or promoted on behalf of, poor fishermen, should be very favourably considered;"That a competent officer should visit the several localities and report upon suitable sites and probable cost,will receive special attention; and, if so, how soon; whether he is aware that the Scotch Fishery Board have stated, pages 32 and 33, Report 1883, that it had intended to institute an inquiry with reference to the improvement of old and construction of new fishery harbours, but had desisted on account of the then prosecution of the investigations of the Select Committee on Harbour Accommodation; and, whether, in view of these combined statements and recommendations, he will undertake, at the earliest possible date, to appoint a Commission of Experts to select sites suitable for piers and harbours?
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
With respect to the recommendations of the Crofters' Commission, I must refer the hon. Member to the Home Secretary, who, I think, has already replied to a similar Question on the subject. With respect to the recommendations of the Select Committee on Harbour Accommodation, there appear to be two different subjects contemplated by the hon. Member's Question. The principles laid down in Sir Thomas Farrer's evidence applied only 966 to loans; whereas the recommendation by the Select Committee of the appointment of a small Commission contemplated grants of public money, and not loans. The question of how best to assist harbour works by a judicious system of loans is under the careful consideration of the Government, and I hope soon to be in a position to announce their decision in the matter; but the Government are not disposed to make any alteration in the policy of successive Governments, under which they have hitherto declined to make grants of public money for harbour construction, except in cases of imperial and national necessity.