HC Deb 06 May 1930 vol 238 cc730-2

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that, owing to the number of herring drifters and other fishing boats which have been condemned by the Board of Trade as unseaworthy at various fishing ports in Scotland, and to the unsatisfactory condition of many other boats, a number of fishermen are unable to obtain berths during the coming season, and are thus threatened with the loss of their livelihood; and whether, in these circumstances, he is prepared to announce any proposals to assist the fishermen in the replacement of their unseaworthy boats?


I am not aware that the position is as stated by the hon. and learned Member, and I understand that my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will in answer to a later question to-day make that point clear.


Is it not a fact that there are fishermen who are unable to obtain berths this season, and is it not desirable that some effort should be made to provide boats for these men?


I cannot add very much to the reply that I have already given. We have been making inquiries, and we understand that there are very few fishermen who will be unable to obtain berths during the coming season.


May I supply the right hon. Gentleman with information which I have received, to the effect that there is quite a number of fishermen who will not be able to obtain berths for this season; and will he look into the matter?


If the hon. and learned Member has any information to convey, I shall be very glad to have it.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consult the recent Reports of the Fishery Board, in which he will find attention drawn more than once in recent years to the need for the replacement of boats?


We are speaking of the coming season, not of recent years.

38. Mr. MILLAR

asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of herring drifters and other fishing boats which have been condemned by the Board of Trade as unseaworthy at Scottish fishing ports during the past 12 months, giving the numbers and classes of vessels condemned at each port?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. William Graham)

No herring drifters or other fishing vessels in Scottish fishing ports have been condemned by the Board of Trade as unseaworthy during the past 12 months. It must not be understood from this statement, however, that the surveyors in Scotland have been inactive in calling attention to defects in fishing vessels in the ordinary course of their duties; the Board, of course, only take action which might be described as "condemning a vessel as unseaworthy" if the defects are not remedied after notification by their officers.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give the number of boats which are in a defective condition and to which the officers have called attention as being in a defective condition at the present time?


No, I could not give the exact number without notice. If the hon. and learned Gentleman will put down a question, I will do my best to get the information.

53. Mr. MILLAR

asked the Prime Minister when the Civil Research Committee on Fisheries intend to take evidence regarding the condition of the Scottish fisheries; whether they propose to hear the Scottish evidence in Scotland; and what provision has been made for meeting the expenses, etc., of witnesses coming from a distance?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Philip Snowden)

A considerable volume of evidence in regard to Scottish fisheries has already been taken by the Committee, and I understand that further evidence on this subject will be taken this month. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative; as regards the third part, approved expenditure will be met from Sub-head B 2 of the Treasury Vote.


Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman has not arranged that Scottish evidence should be taken in Scotland, where a substantial body of witnesses desire to be heard?


It would be very difficult for a committee of this kind to go gallivanting about the country, and it would be much more convenient for the witnesses to be heard here.