HC Deb 22 February 1939 vol 344 cc370-1
45. Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the importance of the shipping and fishing industries to the national safety and prosperity, and the steady growth of agriculture as a vital national industry, he will consider the separation of shipping from the Board of Trade and Fisheries from the Ministry of Agriculture, and establish at an early date a Ministry of Shipping and Fisheries?

Sir J. Simon

As my hon. and gallant Friend is aware, there are many considerations involved in this suggestion besides those referred to in the question, and as at present advised the Prime Minister does not think that the establishment of the proposed new Ministry would be desirable.

Rear-Admiral Beamish

Will my right hon. Friend convey to the Prime Minister the fact that when the Ministry of Agriculture was created, agriculture was in very low water, and that at the present time fishing and shipping are in very much the same condition?

Mr. Shinwell

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the widespread demand from fishing and shipping circles for a separate Ministry?

Viscountess Astor

Will my right hon. Friend ask the Prime Minister to consult the late Minister of Agriculture and ask him whether he did not find it was too much to attend to both agriculture and fisheries?

Sir J. Simon

The suggestion in the question is for the creation of a Ministry of Shipping, and for taking away shipping from the Board of Trade. That raises a very important question, in view of the fact that shipping is very closely connected with trade questions and agreements. All I am answering is that there are many considerations involved; but I will certainly report to the Prime Minister.

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