§ 9.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
I beg to move, in page 3, line 26, at the end, to add:(c) in selecting applications for the giving of grants the Board shall take into account the character, skill, and experience of the applicants and the needs of the locality in which the applicants reside.The Committee will observe that this Amendment suggests a number of tests as well as the means test in determining who shall receive grants under the Clause. I had hoped to be able, with the assistance of my hon. Friend the Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby), to persuade the Committee not to include the means test, but that, apparently, would have been out of order, so that now, it seems, we are to have the means test. Let us face the situation. As it is now, it would appear, as I see it, that, when a fisherman applies for a grant, the only two qualifications he has to show is that he has a sufficient minimum cash amount to lay down—as I understand it, 10 per cent. of the cost of the boat—and that he has no more money, that he has not enough to build the boat out of his own resources. If these are to be the only tests, the grants will go to the wrong people.
2372 If I understand the purpose of the Bill properly, we ought to encourage the younger men in the trade, but, without some such words as those which I suggest, the chances are that these young men will not be given the opportunities they want, or, alternatively, the grants may be given to men who have not the necessary qualities of experience and knowledge of the sea, and who may not live in districts which need this assistance. I suggest three other tests. The first is character. It is most essential that the grants should go to good men who are respected by the district and who will not misuse the money. My second test is that of skill. It would be absurd to give a grant to some fisherman who was not going to use the boat efficiently. The third test I suggest is that of experience. These all seem to me to be most important factors.
I am coming to that; I agree that it is a most important point. The last point is the need of the locality in which the applicants reside. There are some ports round the coast" where a larger proportion of the boats are old and almost done than in others. I imagine it would be the desire of the Government to assist those districts as much as possible, and I hope they would take that into consideration as one of the factors. As to who is to be the judge, I assume that, if this Amendment or something of the same nature were adopted, the Ministers would have to lay down some system by which the board took into consultation local people to assist them in choosing the right men for the receipt of these grants, and on the question of the Clause standing part I was proposing to ask my right hon. Friend one or two questions which would cover that point.
I recognise at once that, if the tests to be applied are extended, it will be necessary to set up some machinery for effecting the tests, but I submit that that might be considered afterwards if the Committee take the view that some such tests as those which I propose should be made. It may well be that I have not worded my Amendment properly, but I may have included one or two points of which the Committee would approve. I think, however, that every Member 2373 present will appreciate that it is necessary to consider other factors than the mere possession or non-possession of money. I am anxious to help young, energetic men. In my part of the country I could count a dozen fishermen, now serving in crews, who have their chief's or extra chief's certificates, and who cannot get a move on because they have not the necessary funds. I do not want this Clause to prevent these men, with their skill and knowledge, from being assisted.
§ 9.43 P.m.
§ Mr. Boothby
I have a good deal of sympathy with this Amendment, but I hope that, if my right hon. Friend is considering accepting it, he will leave out the word "character." That is a very difficult matter. I have found from time to time that quite a lot of people think I have a very bad character. I take an entirely different view. I have also found that I disagree very sharply with many of my friends as to the characters of other people. I think that, if we start to lay down in Acts of Parliament that people's characters are to be taken into account, we shall have temperance propaganda and all sorts of other things before we know where we are. I can see endless difficulties arising. Therefore, I should strongly resist the inclusion of that unfortunate word. For the rest, however, I think there is a real danger in the Clause as it stands which ought to be guarded against. It is that the skilled and experienced man who has credit at the bank is going to be penalised for the benefit of the poor fisherman who cannot possibly raise the necessary money. I want to ask the Secretary of State what exactly is meant by the phrasewhich could not be provided without such assistance.That, to the ordinary Member of the House, looks like a means test applied to the fishermen applicants who come forward and ask for grants under the Bill. If the grants are only to go to those fishermen who cannot possibly raise the money at their bank, as against those who can, is there not a real danger that the good fisherman may be penalised? That is a matter which is causing a great deal of anxiety around the coast of Scotland, and I hope that, whether or not the present Amendment or something like it is accepted, my right hon. Friend will be 2374 able to give some assurances on this point. Neither he nor anybody else in the Committee would wish to see any man deprived of the opportunity of getting a grant merely by reason of the fact that his credit was higher than that of one of his fellow fishermen.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I would like to give a certain amount of support to this Amendment, but I would like to leave out the reference not only to the character, but to the skill and experience of the applicants, and that would leave onlythe needs of the locality in which the applicants reside.Just as there are difficulties about character, there are considerable difficulties about skill and experience. You could quite easily have all sorts of investigations that would lead to nothing but waste of time. The differences in skill and experience among these men who would apply for these boats are not of a character that would make for easy judgment, because it is not a case of someone without skill and without experience; he would never be considered by the board. As for the suggestion that the thrifty men will be penalised, what about the poorer men who have been crushed down and are absolutely finished? I have met men in the constituency of the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby), and I have talked with them too, who are in the utmost poverty. Does the hon. Member think that they can go to a bank to get £2,000 to provide the necessary share for the building of a motor boat? If there is any question of the poorer fishermen getting a boat at all, it will be a tied boat, tied to one of the combines that would provide the money.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I know they have a system of company ownership, but I know also that big combines like Unilever, through Mac Fisheries, are pushing more and more into the fishing industry, and I know too that many of these fishermen have not got a penny.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
A man would require to put down 10 per cent. of the cost of a new boat, which might be 2375 £2,000; he would get a grant of £1,000 and a loan for the balance.
§ Mr. Gallacher
The combines are getting more and more power, and the combines are getting more and more associated with the banks. You cannot differentiate between them; they are getting as close as close can be. You have only to consider the ramifications of Unilever, as well as the other combines, to see that if men got loans for the boats from them, they would, never be able to regain their independence. That is the predicament into which they would be put. There would be no chance for the poorest of the fishermen, and as to character, this is where the danger would come in: It would not be that certain fishermen would be chosen for loans because of their strong or independent character, but the big danger would be that they would be chosen for loans because their character would be one suitable to the big interests that control the fishing industry. I say that this question of character, skill, and experience should be left out and the other part of the Amendment left in, so that the Minister, when the claim of an applicant was under consideration, should seriously consider the needs of the locality, because it is very important that the main big fishing localities that are suffering so much at the present time should be given every possible support by the Government.
§ 9.51 p.m.
Mr. J. J. Davidson
The different speeches that have been made on this Amendment and the different ideas of the three speakers upon it must show the Committee clearly the danger of accepting the Amendment, because it would give authority to the board with regard to certain questions that ought to be left to the discretion of the Ministers and those administering the fund. I could spend considerable time in dealing with the question of different characters in the fishing industry. I could also spend much time in dealing with the question of skill. This refers to the motor boat. What is the definition of skill of those fishermen who were never before employed in a motor boat? What is the definition of skill of those fishermen who are now going to take up what is practically a new thing with regard to their industry? I think it would be dangerous to leave it in the 2376 hands of this particular authority to decide with regard to the character and skill of these applicants. I have much sympathy with the viewpoint put by my hon. Friend the Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher). This board is being set up for the purpose of administering this fund to bring efficiency to the herring industry. That is the fundamental reason. Because of the mix-up and of the bad conditions in the industry, because of the lack of steady employment, and because of the effect of competition on the industry as a whole, we are now setting up a board—
I was pointing out that the Amendment directs the board to take into consideration certain questions, and I was trying to show the Committee that we have set up a board—
The hon. Member must keep to the Amendment. This is not the occasion on which to point out the purposes for which the board was set up.
But I thought the Amendment asked the board, in selecting applications for the giving of grants, to decide the purposes for which the board was set up. Am I wrong?
The Amendment suggests that in selecting applications for the giving of grants, the board shall do this and that. Does that not indicate a purpose of the board?
It is a very limited purpose, whether that should or should not be a reason for giving a grant.
With all due respect, that is exactly what I was saying, that apart from this Amendment the board has been set up to administer the industry in an efficient manner, and this Amendment, in my opinion, would create inefficiency and a general mix-up. With regard to the speech of the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart), I have no doubt that he is concerned for men who really deserve to be assisted, but can he not see that if we tie the board in their decisions to the question of character, we are doing something that might create a great divergence of 2377 opinion? If we tie them to the question of skill, we are asking the board to decide a question that ought not to be decided merely from a single point of view.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
I mentioned the case of a fisherman with an extra chief's certificate, and I would put down such a certificate as a proof of skill.
That is just the point. If the hon. Member was on the Herring Board, he would take that as a definite proof of skill, whereas there may be fishermen who do not hold any such certificate, and who may have during long years of service proved themselves to be capable fishermen. There are men holding first mate's and master's certificates who cannot obtain a job and there are other seamen just as capable, who do not hold certificates. The board ought not to have the right to say that merely because a man holds this or that certificate it is a reason why he should receive greater consideration than a man who does not hold such a certificate. It appears to me that the proposal of the hon. Member would create a condition of affairs which might give rise to general and continual complaint. We have appointed this board; we have discussed what their duties are to be. Let us give them the power to decide these questions for themselves, and if they decide wrongly I am sure the hon. Members who are interested in herring fishing will soon bring to light any complaints that are made.
§ 9.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Colville
I understand that the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) moved this Amendment mainly in order to elicit information, and I think the subsequent speeches have shown that it would be unwise to attempt to lay down these details in the Bill. For example, the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) would brush aside altogether the question of character, skill or experience. Other hon. Members have expressed views as to what may be meant by character. But I can give the hon. Member and the Committee this clear guidance, that in recommending applicants for grants, the board would, naturally, take into account the character, skill and experience of the applicant. These qualities would properly be con- 2378 sidered. The intention is that the grant should be given to the men who are most likely to make good use of the motor boats, and the qualities referred to by the hon. Member would be appropriately considered in that connection.
Then hon. Members have asked how would the board decide on these matters and where would they get their information. Of course, it will be the responsibility of the board to make a selection from the applicants. They will have assistance from the coastal staff of the Fishery Departments in making their selection and, again, I say, they would properly take into account character, skill and experience. The ownership of a drifter which has been discarded would not, in itself, give a right of preference, though it might be a factor which could properly be taken into consideration.
The hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) asked how it was intended to administer what he called the means test. The history of the assistance which has been given to the industry hitherto leads me to the view that there will be very few cases in which fishermen can build new boats without some form of assistance. One fisherman may be able to provide a larger initial sum than another but, in view of the fact that the policy of loans was tried and it was found that owing to the difficulty of meeting the expense of building, the loans were not taken up, I imagine there will be few cases in which fishermen can afford to build entirely without assistance.
§ Mr. Boothby
But the fact that a particular fisherman can produce a larger initial sum than another, although nothing like the whole sum, will not, in itself, prejudice him in a matter of receiving assistance?
§ Mr. Colville
It will not prejudice his claim for assistance, but for details as to the amount of assistance to be given we must wait until the scheme is submitted. I do not think that the test will operate harshly in any way, and I can assure the hon. Member for East Fife that the qualities which he stresses will be taken into account in making the selection.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
The right hon. Gentleman has omitted any reference to the last words of the Amendment about the needs of the locality.
§ 10 p.m.
§ Mr. Tomlinson
The answer given by the Minister leaves me even more confused than the statement of the hon. Member who moved the Amendment. It seems to me that all the things which he suggests in his Amendment are in the mind of the Minister and how the Minister proposes to administer this Measure with all those things in mind has me guessing. It is suggested that skill and character are to be taken into consideration before a grant is made and that previous ownership of a boat is not, in itself, to be regarded as a condition upon which a grant will be made. I wonder how the Minister reconciles the suggested administration of this Measure with the proposals made in other Bills which we have been discussing recently. There was never, for example, any question with regard to the suitability or desirability of the individuals concerned when we were considering grants for the reconditioning of houses. It seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman will have to think again if he proposes to administer this Measure in the way suggested, having regard to the difficulties which have been pointed out.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ 10.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
May I ask the Minister one or two questions as to the method of distributing these grants. I wish to know—despite what the right hon. Gentleman has just said—how are the applicants to be chosen for the receipt of grants? Further, I wish to know whether any rate and maximum amount are foreshadowed? For example is it proposed to spread this £250,000, evenly over the five years, or, if not, at what rate is it to be spent? Then, if applications for the full amount of £250,000 are received, say in the first year, what is to happen? If there is a flood of applications immediately the Bill becomes law how are they to be dealt with? Again, what is to happen if, instead of 250 applications, there are 500 or 1,000 applications, which can be regarded as appropriate?
2380 Is it intended that the proportion of one-third of the cost of the boat will be a maximum and that that proportion shall be lowered in special circumstances? For example, if instead of 250 applications for a one-third grant, there were 1,000 applications, it might be necessary to say, "We will give you, not one-third, but one-eighth or one-sixteenth." Is that in the mind of the Minister? If so, is any total number of new boats foreshadowed? Obviously if the proportion of grant is reduced it will enable a larger number of boats to be built. Has the Minister in mind a maximum number of boats? I understood previously that he has thought of building 50 boats a year—250 in five years. But it may not be so. Perhaps he has a higher number. Will he tell us, if the grants are to be less than one-third of the cost, on what principles the allocation will be arrived at? I have on three occasions since the Bill was published discussed it with the fishermen in my constituency, and these are some of the practical questions that have been put to me. I was not able to answer them, but I undertook that I would put them to my right hon. Friend, because they are very important.
§ 10.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Beechman
Perhaps it would be convenient, before the Minister replies to my hon. Friend, that he should be in possession of all the questions that arise. I would like to refer very briefly to a matter of the utmost importance to West-country fishermen. On Second Reading, my hon. Friend the Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Mr. Petherick), who has unfortunately had to go down to Cornwall to-night, expressed some doubt as to whether, under the drafting of the Clause as it stands, fishermen in Cornwall would be eligible for grants at all. There has been a feeling in Cornwall, which I do not necessary share, that these grants are labelled, "For Scotsmen only: no Cornishmen need apply." I would like to be absolutely specific in attempting to elucidate the position in Cornwall: in ports such as Newlyn and Mousehole, for instance. The herring season lasts during November and December. In those months they go out because herring are there; in other months they go out for other fish, such as pilchard and mackerel. Are such fishermen eligible for grants under the Clause?
2381 Further, I would like an assurance that when regulations come to be drafted and directions given, they will not be such as will exclude these fishermen from obtaining a grant. I fully appreciate that in every case the fisherman will have to make out his case on the merits. No Cornish fishermen will object to that. When the regulations come to be drafted under this Clause, to implement this Clause, will anything be done to make sure that boats for fishermen can be, and shall be, made with reference to local needs, and made locally? In administering similar Sections in the past, it has been very unfortunate that the directions have not taken account of the particular type of boats required. If the boats are made in the districts concerned, it will be of great assistance to the boat-making industry in those particular districts.
§ 10.9 p.m.
Mr. Loft us
On this occasion, I do not propose to ask the Secretary of State any questions. I criticised at considerable length on Second Reading, the wording and structure of this Clause. I also criticised the wording of the Clause in the Debate on the Money Resolution. I feel that it would be wrong and an abuse of the time of the House to repeat those criticisms now. But I would like, before the Clause passes, to renew my protest. I would add that this Clause does establish a principle and a precedent, and that is that it gives a grant of State money for replacing obsolete fishing vessels, thus helping to maintain the fishing fleets of this country. I value that precedent, and I hope to see it widely extended in future years.
§ 10.10 p.m.
Lieut.-Colonel H. Guest
I want to support very strongly my hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives (Mr. Beechman) in his plea that grants shall be available for West-country fishermen. The West-country fishing trade, which was very prosperous in the past, has now fallen on evil days. It is an industry which deserves to be fostered, it has produced excellent men, and I hope the Government will foster it in the West-country.
§ 10.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Boothby
I think the Government are perfectly right in confining these grants to the motor boats. I believe that the immediate future of the industry does lie with motor boats. If things go very 2382 badly it is always possible to divert motor boats to other purposes, and particularly to inshore white fishing, whereas the drifter is of no practical value for any other sort of fishing. I think that, on balance, the arguments in favour of the motor boat as the only craft that should be built in any number for the general fishing fleet are quite unanswerable. What I want to do is to reinforce the appeal of my hon. Friend the Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) for a little more information regarding the actual practical administration of these grants. Who are the fishermen who will actually get them, and how many do the Government expect will get them? How many boats per annum, on the average, do the Government think the industry can take? What sort of idea have they at the back of their mind as to the allocation of them? About all these things we would like some information. I think the industry as a whole will be greatly interested in the answer of my right hon. Friend, because it will help them to plan for the years that lie immediately ahead.
§ 10.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher
On the Second Reading I spoke very strongly against this Clause. I said that it would be utterly impossible for the Government to give less than they are giving, and that it was only incidental that the fishermen are to get what they are getting. The idea behind it is that the Government want motor boats as part of the armaments programme, and so, in order to get them, grants are to be made to a certain section of the fishermen. What I am concerned about is the character test. The hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) said that, so far as he could gather, 250 motor boats will be built, covering the period of five years. There may be, he said, 500 or 1,000 applicants, and I want to be certain that, when it comes to a question of selecting the men who are to get the grant, politics or religion will not play any part from the point of view of character. We had an experience in the House a day or two ago of how politics were introduced when it was a question of Unemployment Assistance Board allowances to the unemployed, and the Minister, because of the protests that had been made, had to send out a circular instructing those who were responsible not to take into account the religious or political 2383 opinions of the applicant. It is quite possible that there may be many more applicants than can be permitted to have the grant, and if it came to a question of character may be some investigator might report, as was the case in the report of the investigator which I produced here in the form of a photostat copy, that a particular fisherman was of a seditious type.
I want the Minister to make it absolutely clear that, on the question of the giving of grants to fishermen, political opinions will not be considered. It is very necessary to emphasise this point, because, on occasion after occasion, we have been faced with the fact that, whenever there have been applications of any kind in connection with the unemployed and other matters, investigators have taken into account the political opinions of an applicant, and his political opinion has always weighed against him. We do not want to see a situation arise where men are victimised because of their political opinions. I ask that the most strict instructions should be issued that, on the question of grants to fishermen, politics shall not be taken into account when such grants are being allocated.
§ 10.18 p.m.
I think that it will be generally agreed, and particularly by Members of the Opposition, who have consistently fought for the herring industry of this country, that there should be a successful administration of this Clause. I congratulate the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) on the list of questions he has put to the Minister. His ability as a questioner far excels his ability as a supporter of many of the Amendments he had previously put down to this Bill. I am sorry that the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) is not now present, but I was rather surprised at his sudden conversion to the idea of motor boats. I view this innovation in the herring industry very seriously indeed. I trust that the sanguine statements of the Minister and his belief in them will be fully justified, and that this proposal will bring benefit to the herring industry. I have my doubts. I feel with the hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Loftus) and other hon. Members, who put up a particularly strong case against motor boats on the Second Reading, that 2384 the Minister, when considering the question of supporting a particular industry, ought to have considered the position of that industry in general in the country. This innovation will be a very severe blow to an industry which cannot afford any further setbacks, namely, the coal industry.
There is one further question about which I am concerned. This Clause refers to the provision of new motor boats. Where fishermen in the past have made some attempt to convert their vessels into motor-driven vessels, I should like to know what are their qualifications for a grant under this Clause. It is provided that no grant made in respect of any boat shall exceed one-third. Below what level will the guarantee have to be? If a fisherman can provide only a very small sum which cannot be termed anything near one-third, what consideration will be given to his claim? As a Scottish representative, I trust that what has been said by an hon. Member opposite that this Bill will benefit only Scottish fishermen, is not true. I hope that it will not work out in that way. I regret that it refers only to motor boats. I wish the subsidy had been given on general lines to assist the fishing industry where it can be proved that motor boats would not be beneficial in a particular locality. However, that question has been settled. As a Member of the Opposition, which has agitated for support for the herring industry, which has suffered so much, I can only say that I trust the Bill will assist the whole herring industry, including Englishmen and Scotsmen, and bring about some better standard and conditions to men who have deserved in the past much better fortune than they have received.
§ 10.23 P.m.
I must point out that the hon. Member cannot proceed with that argument on this Clause. He can only deal with it in passing.
§ Mr. Griffiths
At the present time in the mining industry 125,000 men are unemployed, and of that number 23,000 were not unemployed a month ago. This Clause will have a serious effect on coal consumption so far as fishing boats are 2385 concerned. Foreign petrol is to be introduced. The hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) and the hon. Member for East Fire (Mr. Henderson Stewart) agree that we should import foreign petrol and continue to pay unemployment benefit to 125,000 miners. I am amazed that a Clause of this kind should be introduced in favour of motor boats alone. It is to operate for six years. Who knows that science may not bring out something in the nature of pulverised coal which would fit into this matter as well as petrol for motor boats? This Clause will do a great injustice to my trade.
§ 10.25 P.m.
Most of the questions which have been asked on this Clause are questions to which precise answers cannot be given until the arrangements under the Clause have been formulated, because they are concerned with exactly the kind of decisions which will have to be made by the Minister on the advice of the board. Clearly, if the Government were now to state in advance precisely what will be done they would be superseding the functions which are provided for in the Bill without having had an opportunity of making the necessary examination of the evidence upon which the answers to most of the questions depend. But it might be of some help to hon. Members if I made one or two general observations as to what the Government have in mind. In the first place, the scheme is not one for adding ships to the existing herring fleet. The future number of boats must not be greater than the: number of existing boats, because before a grant is given for a new boat an old boat has to be discarded. There can be no building in excess of the number of boats which at present exist.
Subject to that preliminary and essential limitation the scheme which we have in view contemplates the construction of, probably, 250 motor boats at an average cost of £3,000 over a period of five years. Obviously there are one or two factors which might increase the figure of 250, and there is one factor which might possibly diminish the number. For example, the average cost of these boats may be more than £3,000, and, as the grant may be one-third, it might be that there would be rather less than 250 boats if the maximum grant were given. On the other hand, there are factors which might bring the number a little above that figure. As 2386 my right hon. Friend has said, it is very doubtful whether the condition that the grant shall not be given if the boat can be built without assistance will have much practical effect. As we know, most of the fishermen for whose assistance these grants are proposed, would not be able to provide anything but a small fraction of the cost. In a few cases they may be able to provide a little more, and that might tend to increase the number of boats. Another consideration which might tend to increase the number would be if a fisherman was going to own only part of the new boat, the other owner being a shore owner. Under the arrangements, it might be that the fisherman would receive only grant proportionate to his share in the ownership of the boat, which would be a lesser grant, and that might tend to mean that a larger number than 250 boats might be built.
As to the time, the spread over, the rate of building will depend on the number of approved applications and on the capacity of the boat building yards. I am informed that the yards arc not likely to be able to produce the whole number of 250 boats in much less time than the period provided for in the Bill.
A question was asked as to what will be the position if more applications are received than can be granted. In that case the board will require, whether the excess number is small or great, to select the best applicants and determine to whom the grants shall be given. I think all that can be said as to the principles on which they will do that was explained by my right hon. Friend on a previous Amendment. There remains the question which was put by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives (Mr. Beechman) and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Drake (Lieut.-Colonel Guest) about the position of English fishermen under this Bill. All I can do is to make it clear that the wording of this Clause does not rule out herring fishermen who devote part of their time to other methods of fishing. That applies equally to Scotland and to England. It must be remembered, of course, that the proposal to make these grants arises from the circumstances of the herring industry, and it will be for the arrangements to decide how the funds available may best be applied, and for the board to make recommendations in particular cases within the arrangements. 2387 If I were to go to the North-East Coast of Scotland and state that every fisherman there would be certain to get a grant, I should certainly be guilty of misleading them, and the same would apply to an English Member who said that in any English constituency.
§ Mr. Boothby
Could these arrangements be drafted in such a way as to lay down certain broad limits as to the number of craft which could be subsidised in different localities? Under the arrangements, could there be laid down a proportion of new craft which could be allotted to, say, Cornwall, Devonshire and Scotland?
I do not think it would be illegal under the Act, but I cannot see any equitable reason for doing so under the arrangements. It must be remembered that one great difficulty in the herring industry lies in the shrunken export trade for cured herring, and that one object of the scheme is to provide for the replacement of steam drifters as they fall out of commission by a not greater number of suitable motor boats. That is the guiding principle by which these arrangements will be governed.
§ Mr. Beechman
When the applications are being made, will my hon. Friend bear in mind that if a Cornish fisherman has to apply to Edinburgh for a grant, it will be impossible for him to do so?
§ Clause 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill.