Sir HENRY COWAN
(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been called to the fact that the fishermen on the whole East Coast of Scotland are at present laid ashore owing to the price they can obtain for their fish being too small even to pay the working expenses of their vessels, and that these conditions are tending to rapidly paralyse the whole herring fishing industry in Scotland, and causing a large amount of unemployment, and whether a scheme can be immediately adjusted whereby a sum could be guaranteed to the fishermen which would at least pay their expenses?
§ The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. Munro)
The situation in the herring fishing industry has for some time been engaging the anxious consideration of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries and myself. It has been thoroughly discussed with representatives of the industry.
I am now in a position to state that the Government will be prepared to purchase at the 15th September, 1919, sound pickled herrings cured during the present season, if at that date the curers have been unable to dispose of them owing to the continued closure of Continental markets. Scheduled prices will be fixed, and the arrangement will apply to a limited barrelage of 400,000 barrels.
I trust that these proposals, which may impose serious obligations upon the Government, and which are justified only by the exceptional conditions of a national industry, will remove the difficulties which have arisen.
Sir H. COWAN
Can the right hon. Gentleman say how soon it will be possible to indicate what prices will be paid by the Government?