HC Deb 24 May 1922 vol 154 cc1193-4

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the serious state of depression in the fishing industry, which is due to high railway freights, the price of coal, and also to foreign competition, whereby large quantities of fish are being dumped into this country free of duty, the foreign fishermen gaining further advantages from the rate of exchange and from the subsidies of their Governments; whether he is aware that the British Trawlers' Federation may be obliged to ask owners to lay up their fleets unless the Govern- ment can help them; and what proposals of remedy or assistance the Board of Agriculture is prepared to make?

Lieut.-Colonel Sir JOHN GILMOUR (for Sir Arthur Boscawen)

My right hon. Friend is aware of the difficulties of the industry, which were recently discussed with representatives of all branches of it by my Noble Friend the Deputy-Minister of Fisheries. The question whether any and, if so, what practical remedies can be applied is now being considered by anad hoc Committee representative of the Industry and the Fisheries Department, and until my right hon. Friend has received their Report he can make no statements on the subject.


In view of the facts, first, that if these trawler fleets are laid up, a million men will be put out of employment; secondly, that the important associated industries will be seriously dislocated; and, thirdly, that it is estimated, as the result, £1,000,000 more will have to be paid in the weekly unemployment dole, will the Minister of Agriculture recognise the immediate necessity of some expedition and celerity in this matter?


I understand that arrangements are proceeding as rapidly as possible.

Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY

Is the Scottish Fishery Board represented on that Committee?