13. Major WOOD
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has given consideration to the urgent need and to the pressing demand, prior to the recent disaster in East Anglia, for improved credit facilities to enable fishermen to replace their worn-out gear and boats; whether he is aware of the danger of a collapse in the fishing industry if the matter is not taken in hand at once; and whether he has any proposals to bring forward to deal with the emergency?
Mr. W. ADAMSON
During the Parliamentary Recess and the preceding period I spent considerable time in examining the circumstances of the fishing industry in Scotland, and while I received many representations as to the need for repairs and extensions of the fishery harbours and for remission of their debt burdens, the information which I obtained does 1181 not warrant the hon. and gallant Member's anticipation of a serious collapse in the industry. In particular no request for credit facilities was made to me by the representative deputation from the herring fishing industry which I received, together with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries on the 30th of July.
Did the right hon. Gentleman expect a deputation which came to him on the question of markets to deal with the question of worn-out gear, and, because they did not deal with worn-out gear, is he to understand that there is no question about credit facilities in respect of worn-out gear?
I do not think that I thought anything of the kind. I said that no representations were made to me at that meeting on the question of credit facilities, or by any of the deputations that I have met in connection with the fishing industry during the last few months.
Are we to understand that the right hon. Gentleman wishes the House to understand that there is no demand for credit facilities of this kind? If so, will he say what he meant by the promise to increase credit facilities which he gave during the election campaign?
On a point of Order. I put down a question about credit facilities for worn-out gear and beats, and the answer that I have received is an answer about credit facilities in respect of harbours. There is no mention of harbours in the question.
I did not confine myself to the question of harbours. It was an answer to the hon. and gallant Member's question in regard to credit facilities. I have no intention of going into election programmes.