HC Deb 20 February 1945 vol 408 cc614-5
33. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland on what grounds he decided that the Committee on the White Fish Industry in Scotland, presided over by the hon. and gallant Member for Orkney and Shetland (Major Neven-Spence) should be set up by the Scottish Council on Industry without official status or any provision for travelling and maintenance expenses, whereas the Committee on the Herring Industry, presided over by the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) was a Departmental Committee appointed by the Government with the usual powers and provision for all expenses.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Westwood)

The herring industry inquiry was an official inquiry on a United Kingdom basis, but the White Fish inquiry, initiated by the Scottish Council on Industry, is concerned with the special problems of the white fish industry in Scotland and is part of their investigation into Scottish industrial problems generally. My right hon. Friend is assured that the committee has had no difficulty in obtaining evidence or the attendance of witnesses as required. While members of the Council and its committees normally make no claims in respect of personal outlays, he is informed that the Council have arranged to meet any special expenses incurred by members of committees in cases where exceptional travelling is involved.

Mr. Stewart

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the members of this committee have travelled thousands of miles and incurred many expenses, all of which they paid personally, and is not that a very unfair form of discrimination against people who are doing work for the State?

Mr. Westwood

In this case, as I have already pointed out, it was not a State appointment. The committee was set up by the Scottish Council on Industry. Because of those difficulties, arrangements are now being made to meet any special expenses incurred by members of committees, and so to ease the burden.

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