HC Deb 31 May 1945 vol 411 cc333-4
2. Sir Herbert Williams

asked the Minister of Labour if he will take steps to increase the supply of labour at the fish docks, in order that the fish that is being caught may reach the consumers.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Butler)

The supply of labour at the fish docks has been increased from time to time as required, particularly during the past few weeks when fish landings have been abnormally heavy. My latest information is that the present number of fish dock porters is sufficient for immediate needs, but I have sent an officer to Grimsby to make urgent inquiries into the position. The position at all the fish docks is being closely watched in conjunction with the National Dock Labour Corporation, and if necessary the labour force will be further strengthened.

Sir H. Williams

Is my right hon. Friend aware that some two months ago the Admiralty released a number of trawlers in order that more fish should be landed, and, at the same time, his predecessor did not supply adequate labour to unload the fish, as a result of which a quantity of fish has been thrown back into the sea?

Mr. Butler

I cannot accept the composite picture presented by my hon. Friend as being exactly accurate.

Mr. Muff

Has my right hon. Friend sent an inspector to the premier fishing port of Britain—Hull?

Mr. Butler

I am glad to pay an unsolicited testimonial to Hull and say that the position there is not so difficult as it is at Grimsby.

Mr. Loftus

Is my right hon. Friend aware that at Lowestoft there is labour available, and adequate port facilities which are not being used; and will he divert some of the trawlers to Lowestoft, and land fish there?

Mr. Silverman

Will the right hon. Gentleman note the belated but useful conversion of the Economic League to the necessity of Government control if the people are to be properly fed?

Mr. Lipson

Can my right hon. Friend confirm or deny the statement that fish has been thrown away?

Mr. Butler

A certain amount of fish has been destroyed. This is not only due to difficulties of labour. There are various other considerations. For instance, at Grimsby a large number of Danish trawlers called during May and there were too many to be discharged at once. Apart from that, there are other difficulties and there have been certain incidents of the type referred to.

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