HC Deb 25 April 1929 vol 227 cc1056-8
38. Sir F. MEYER

asked the Minister of Agriculture what proportion of the £30,000 which is to be set aside for the fishing industry will be available to the English as distinct from the Scottish section of the industry; and in what way it is proposed to distribute the English allocation?


Approximately one-third of the £30,000 will be allocated to England and Wales. Of that amount a considerable proportion will, for the time being, be devoted to the expenses of exploratory voyages undertaken at the request of the fishing industry with the object of discovering new banks suitable for fishing. The balance will be available for the relief of dues upon fishing at any ports used by inshore fishermen where it can be shown that the existing charges are so high as unduly to hamper the prosecution of the industry and for furnishing assistance to the fishing industry in any other ways which may hereafter prove to be necessary or expedient.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that in his speech the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when announcing this concession, specially mentioned the herring industry, and is it not a fact that, in view of this statement, there is nothing to be done for the English herring industry, and is there not a great necessity in the English industry as well as in the Scottish industry?


If any British ports show that they are unduly hampered, they will be eligible for the same kind of assistance as the Scottish herring ports.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any portion of the money is to be paid over to the Lights Fund so that the lightkeepers at Yarmouth may have increased wages?

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is it the intention that this research of the trawling grounds will be of value to the herring industry? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the habits of the herrings are already sufficiently well known?


If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will look at the question, he will see that it refers to the fishing industry generally, and that his is a supplementary question which limits the inquiry to the herrings.


What is the principle which the right hon. Gentleman has followed in allocating two-thirds of this grant to Scotland and only one-third to England?


Fortunately, the financial position of the fishing harbours in England and in Wales is, generally speaking, better than that in Scotland.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is he aware that in the west country that is not the case?


Hon. Members must not pursue this matter.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he can give any information with regard to the relief which is to be accorded to the herring fishing harbours in Scotland?


It may be convenient if I take this opportunity of amplifying the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer respecting relief of fishing harbour debts and reduction of dues payable by fishermen.

In the first place, the Government propose to remit or suspend during the present period of depression, part of the loan charges due to the Development Fund in certain cases where they cannot at present be fully met. The Fishery Board for Scotland, in consultation with the Development Commissioners and the Treasury, are examining the financial circumstances of the harbours with a view to consideration of the form, amount and conditions of relief to be granted in appropriate cases.

In the second place, the Government propose that money should be voted to the Fishery Board for Scotland in the new Parliament to enable the harbour authorities concerned to grant reductions in or rebates on the dues charged to fishermen where those dues are excessive and where the harbour authorities cannot afford to reduce them, having regard to any benefit from de-rating and to their financial obligations and circumstances. The Fishery Board are collecting information as to the dues charged at the various harbours and other particulars in order that the scope, form and other details of the scheme may be considered. Its general principle will be contributions from the Board's Vote towards the loss of revenue resulting from approved reductions in the dues charged to the fishermen. It is anticipated that approximately two-thirds of the provision of about £30,000 mentioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech will be allocated to Scotland.


Is it not the case that the policy pursued by the present Government has almost ruined the fishing industry of Scotland?


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether this relief will be granted to the ordinary inshore fishermen right down the coast as well as to the herring industry?


No, Sir, it will apply to the harbours, and, of course, it will depend upon the inquiries which we are now making as to which harbours and under what circumstances it will be granted.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is it part of the Arcos raid?


Is the right hon. Gentleman collaborating harmoniously with his English colleagues in the allocation of this money?


We are satisfied with what we have got.