HC Deb 19 July 1926 vol 198 cc878-9
35. Captain GARRO-JONES

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will make a brief statement as to the effect of the coal strike on deep-sea fishing operation and fish supplies?


Throughout the coal stoppage special consideration has been given to the needs of the deep-sea fishing industry which has been allowed the maximum possible share of the limited supplies of British coal available. The industry themselves have also shown great enterprise in obtaining coal supplies from abroad. As a result, supplies have so far been well maintained. The diminution in the catch of trawl fish as compared with the corresponding period of last year is only about 13 per cent. and prices have, on the whole, not increased materially. The catch of herrings is considerably larger than in 1925. Although this result is eminently satisfactory from the national point of view, it has involved very considerable sacrifices on the part of the fishing industry who have had to pay greatly increased prices for their fuel and are probably making little or no profit from their operations.


Before the right hon. Gentleman answers this question may I submit that in the way it is framed it is not, properly speaking, a question at all, but a request for a statement, or a sort of fishing inquiry, and if questions of this kind are allowed asking for a general statement it will be an abuse of the way questions are framed and the time of the House taken up.


I think the Minister can be trusted to give the right answer.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the price of coal being charged to herring fishermen is 63s. per ton, and does he think that that is a proper price, in view of the fact that it is being shipped in German ships on the other side at 18s. to 20s. per ton?


That has nothing to do with us. There is not now any Government control, but they make their own arrangements.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in one of the Forth ports alone there are 60 trawlers laid up because they have to pay 55s. a ton for coal, and they cannot go to sea with coal at that price?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of Dutch ports are full of British trawlers trying to get coal, and they are prevented from doing so by the miners?


Why cannot we pay 65s. a ton for British coal


Do landings by foreign trawlers form a material factor in the recent supplies?


If the hon. Member will put down a question I will try to get some figures.


In view of the price of coal mentioned by hon. Members below the Gangway, does the right hon. Gentleman not think it would pay for the Government to give a little to the British miners by granting a small subsidy in order to get the miners back to work?