HC Deb 11 April 1935 vol 300 cc1324-6
40. Mr. LOFTUS

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the increasing depression of the trawl-fishing industry of Lowestoft leading to the laying-up of many boats and the consequent increase of unemployment, he will now consider requesting the Sea-fish Commission to expedite the completion and issue of their report upon the white fish industry?


I understand that the main cause of the recent depression in the trawl-fishing industry at Lowestoft is shortage of fish on their usual fishing grounds. I hope, however, that this condition may be only temporary. The Sea-Fish Commission have a very wide field of inquiry, and I think we must leave the completion and issue of their Report to their discretion.

41. Mr. LOFTUS

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the requests made to the Herring Board to consider increasing the number of trade representatives, he will, if any such increase is made, ensure adequate representation for the English herring industry, which is now represented by only one member out of the five trade representatives?


Pursuant to representation made by the Herring Industry Board, an Order has been made by the appropriate Ministers to vary the composition of the Board by the addition of one member having a special knowledge of the industry, and this Order has been laid before Parliament in accordance with Section 1, Sub-section (5) of the Herring Industry Act. The intention is to add to the Board a practical fisherman whose experience it is thought may be of service to the Board. Any further representation from the Board with a view to the variation of its composition will, of course, receive the serious consideration of the Ministers concerned, but my colleagues and I are confident that the trade members of the Board are endeavouring, and will continue to endeavour, to serve the interests of the herring industry as a whole, and will not regard themselves as representatives of divergent and competing sectional or local interests.


Is it not a fact that at a conference held last October at which the right hon. Gentleman was present the English trade representatives asked for adequate English representation and were assured that they would have it; and does the right hon. Gentleman consider that one trade representative out of six is adequate, in view of the fact that the English fleet comprises more than one-third of the total?


I cannot accept the suggestion that there is only one English representative out of six, and my hon. Friend must take into account the independent members who number two English members out of three.


In order that a fisherman may really be a practical fisherman, will my right hon. Friend guarantee that he is an Englishman.

Lieut.-Colonel MOORE

Does not my right hon. Friend realise that Scottish fishermen think that the English fishermen are over represented on this Board?


In view of the profound dissatisfaction with the representation of the great herring industry in England, will my right hon. Friend say whether he is now precluded from recommending to the new Board further representation? Will he answer that point, and, if the answer is in the affirmative, will he, in view of the very great dissatisfaction with such representation, consider the matter further with a view to giving increased representation for that industry.


I hope very much that the Board will not divide itself on the lines of England against Scotland or vice versa. The provisions of the scheme now being examined by the Board will have to come before the Secretary of State for Scotland and myself before submission to Parliament. My hon. Friend may rest assured that every consideration will be given to ensuring the equitable working of the scheme for the industry as a whole.

42. Mr. LOFTUS

asked the Minister of Agriculture the number of claims allowed to herring drifters under the fitting-out allowance authorised in 1934, and the the total and average grants paid or authorised for the English and Scottish fleets, respectively?


Sixty-three grants, amounting to £1,890, have been paid in respect of English steam drifters, the average amount of the grant being £30. I am informed that in Scotland 309 grants have been paid in respect of steam drifters, the total amount being £11,683, and the average £37 16s. In addition, 50 Scottish motor drifters have received grants amounting to £925, an average of £18 10s. No English motor drifters of the prescribed size took part in the fishing.


asked the Minister of Agriculture the wording, or the exact terms, of the resolution or resolutions passed by the Herring Board with reference to the appointment of an additional number of members?


The resolution in question, which was passed by the Herring Industry Board on 4th April, reads as follows:—

  1. 1. That on the case presented by the Scottish Producers' Association the Board are not satisfied that any variation in the constitution of the Board is justified.
  2. 2. That, however, in view of the representations made to the Board by the Ministers, and having regard to the importance to the industry as a whole of bringing the scheme into operation at the earliest possible moment, the Board are prepared to represent to the appropriate Ministers that the composition of the Board should be varied by the addition of one Member having a special knowledge of the industry.
  3. 3. That the Ministers be informed accordingly and that at the same time it be pointed out to them that in the opinion of the Board this decision may well lead to similar applications from other sections of the trade which it might be difficult to resist and which, if acceded to, would produce an impossible position.

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