HC Deb 10 November 1919 vol 121 cc26-7
40. Mr. IRVING

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries formerly granted the Lancashire and Western Sea Fisheries Committee authority to incur, for a period of ten years, an annual expenditure not exceeding £1,000, under the provisions of the Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Regulation Act of 1894; whether he is aware that permission is now only granted from year to year, and that such permission when granted is occasionally so delayed that the period to which it refers has partly elapsed before the permission is obtained by the committee; whether the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries will now return to their former practice of granting this permission for a ten-yearly period; and, if not, what are the Board's reasons for departing from their former practice in this matter?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Since 1915 the Board's authority has, as stated, been renewed only from year to year. The maximum period of delay occurred in 1916 and amounted in all to twenty-eight days, when the pressure of war work on the Department was extremely heavy. Expenditure under the authority is restricted by Statute to the stocking or restocking of public fisheries for shellfish. Before the question of renewing the authority arises again, the Board hope to discuss the question of further expenditure with the committee in the light of the results hitherto achieved and of other relevant considerations.


May I ask the hon. Gentleman if the Department are not prepared to consider the disturbing influence of this yearly limitation of the work of the Board, inasmuch as they obviously cannot enter into contracts from year to year?


I think my hon. Friend will gather from the end of my answer that they are prepared to consider that with all other relevant considerations.


But consideration does not amount to much.