§ 54 and 56. Mr. LIVINGSTONE
asked the Secretary for Scotland (1) whether he can state the amount of loans applied for and granted to Scottish fishermen for assistance to purchase fishing nets; and the number and amount of loans applied for and granted to fishermen in the Western Isles;
(2) in view of the fact that loans are now available to fishermen in Scotland who are able to pay a percentage of the cost price of herring-nets and gear, whether he is prepared to grant loans at a low rate of interest to those fishermen who, either on account of losses sustained during the War, or adverse post-War conditions, are unable to make any contribution towards the purchase price?
The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. William Adamson)
I propose to answer these questions together. Twenty-two applications from Scottish fishermen have been received, of which 16, representing loans of £482, have been approved. No applications have been received from fishermen in the Western Isles. The results of the herring fishing for the current year, as compared with the results in 1923, are briefly as follows. The catch from 1st April to 2nd August is 774,829 crans in 1924, as compared with 635,115 crans in 1923. For the period from 1st 2922 January to 2nd August, the corresponding figures are 1,016,269 crans in 1924 as compared with 738,513 crans in 1923. The increase in values is even more remarkable. For the period 1st April to 2nd August the total value in 1924 is £1,038,589, as compared with £572,672 in 1923. For the period since 1st January the value is £1,368,264 in 1924, as compared with £688,732 in 1923. In other words, the value of the catch since 1st January is higher by £680,000 than it was in 1923. I think these results show that there is not now the same clamant need in the industry as existed last year.
With regard to the hon. Member's second question, the position of the younger men, who would in ordinary course have acquired an outfit of drift nets, but have been unable to do so owing to War service or the post-War circumstances of the industry, is recognised under the existing scheme, which permits of loans of 75 per cent. to such men, as compared with the normal 50 per cent. I can hold out no prospect of loans being made on the conditions suggested by the hon. Member.
§ Mr. LIVINGSTONE
Can the right hon. Gentleman explain how the fishermen, who have no money, can benefit under the Government scheme?
§ Sir ROBERT HAMILTON
Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the terms of the scheme after the experience that he has gained to date?
Hon. Members who are putting these supplementary questions had better see my answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. HOGGE
Arising out of that answer and in view of the fact that we go into recess for 12 weeks, and as these men require the money, does the right hon. Gentleman not understand that what we are asking for is whether the scheme has been successful, and whether he agrees that if only 22 men have applied for only £408 the whole thing is inadequate and useless?