HC Deb 28 May 1941 vol 371 cc1856-7
56. Mr. Barnes

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is now in a position to make any statement about his negotiations with the fish trade to secure a reduction in the prices of white fish?

Major Lloyd George

Negotiations with the fish trade are still proceeding, and I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Mr. Barnes

Does the Minister really appreciate the urgency of getting a decision in this matter? In view of the time that has already been spent in negotiation with the fish trade, would it not be better interpreting the feelings of the public and of this House if the Minister enforced a decision, if the parties concerned cannot make their own?

Major Lloyd George

I believe I made the position perfectly clear, that we are anxious to get this matter settled. I have pointed out to the House that the question of distribution alone is extremely complicated, and my Noble Friend has made it clear to the trade that, if they cannot come to an agreement, other measures will be taken.

Mr. Garro Jones

Have not many ultimatums been given to the trade and have expired without action having been taken on them? Does not that fact encourage the trade in their attitude?

Major Lloyd George

I would not accept that suggestion altogether. The last suggestion was that prices should be reduced by a considerable figure, but my Noble Friend did not consider that it was low enough.

Mr. Woods

Would the Minister consider the reply given to a previous Question concerning British fishermen, who are doing even more dangerous work now, mine-sweeping, while aliens are coming in and getting these fabulous prices? It is not only in the interest of the consumer but in the interests of the men working in the industry that the matter should be dealt with immediately.

63. Mr. Parker

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he can now make a statement about the reorganisation of the fish trade?

Major Lloyd George

I regret I am not yet in a position to make a statement, as the preliminary work is not yet completed.