MR. J. LOWTHER (Kent, Thanet)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the attention of the Government has been called to an attempt upon the part of the North-Eastern Sea Fisheries Board to levy contributions upon the County Councils of the North and East Ridings of the County of York towards the purchase and maintenance of a ship to be employed in patrolling the coast, while the vastly more populous and wealthy West Riding is exempted from any such demand upon the ground that it is situated a few miles inland; whether County Councils can be compelled to contribute the ratepayers' money for such a purpose against their will; whether it is the case that in Scotland the duties in question are discharged by the naval authorities; and whether steps will be taken to establish a similar system in England, or by some other means, to relieve seaboard areas from charges incurred for objects in which they are not exclusively interested?
§ MR. HANBURY
Perhaps I may be allowed to answer this. The Committees of County and Borough Councils for Sea Fisheries Districts, of which the North-Eastern is one, were created under the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act, 1888, on the application of the Councils, by Orders which were laid before Parliament. Their duties are to protect and improve the coast fisheries of their districts, and for this purpose it seems necessary that they should acquire a small steamer. Under certain limitations they have power to issue precepts for their expenses on the Councils. A similar Act was passed for Scotland in 1895, and where Committees are created under it their expenses will fall on the rates. A number of cruisers 971 are set apart by the Admiralty for the general protection of the fisheries around the West Riding, and I understand that in some cases they have been allowed to give assistance to the Fisheries Board for Scotland, a body whose expenses are paid by the Exchequer.
§ MR. HANBURY
I am afraid I cannot answer supplementary Questions with regard to Questions addressed to another Department.