HC Deb 29 April 1948 vol 450 cc737-9

Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 69.—(King's Recommendation signified.)

[Mr. HUBERT BEAUMONT in the Chair]

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, for the purpose of any Act of the present Session for regulating the mesh of fishing nets, for licensing fishing in the North Sea, for giving financial assistance or further financial assistance to inshore fishermen and persons desiring to engage in the inshore fishing industry, to co-operative societies and organisations of fishermen and to the Herring Industry Board, for amending the Herring Industry Acts, 1935 to 1944, and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid, it is expedient to authorise,—

  1. (a) the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament—
    1. (i) of additional sums, not exceeding five hundred thousand pounds in the aggregate, by way of grant under Section one of the Inshore Fishing Industry Act, 1945, and of additional sums, not exceeding one million pounds in the aggregate, by way of loan under the said Section;
    2. (ii) of loans, not exceeding in the aggregate one hundred thousand pounds, to co-operative societies and organisations formed for the purpose of co-operative schemes for fishermen to meet capital expenditure incurred or to be incurred in connection with the initial operation or the development of those schemes;
    3. 738
    4. (iii) of sums, not exceeding in the aggregate one million five hundred thousand pounds, in respect of expenses incurred by the Herring Industry Board;
    5. (iv) of salaries and allowances to members of the Herring Industry Board;
    6. (v) of any increase in the sums payable under Section four of the Herring Industry Act, 1944, for making advances to the Herring Industry Board, being an increase resulting from the removal of the limit on the sums to be advanced under the said Section for the making of loans in connection with export and for the undertaking of operations involving the outlay of working capital and from the extension of the period during which advances may be made under the said Section;
    7. (vi) of administrative expenses incurred under the said Act of the present Session by any Minister in the execution of that Act;
  2. (b) the payment into the Exchequer in accordance with the said Act of the present Session of sums received by way of interest on, or in payment of the principal of, any loan made to any co-operative society or organisation of fishermen."—[Mr. T. Williams.]

10.29 p.m.

Mr. Charles Williams (Torquay)

I only wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman two questions on this Motion. It will be noted that the first three sub-paragraphs in the aggregate represent something like well over £3 million of the taxpayers' money, but the first question I have relates to sub-paragraph (v). What, approximately, is the amount of money which we shall have to find as taxpayers under that sub-paragraph, and has he as yet secured from the Treasury an assurance that he will be given an adequate sum for the purpose? On sub-paragraph (vi) I should like to know what he expects to be the increase not only in administrative costs but in the number of people employed. If we can have some sort of estimates on these two matters. I should be glad, because I welcome the whole of this Resolution and its purpose. I am not, as very often, asking a question for the purpose of criticising the Government, but because I wish to be quite sure they have adequate help in this matter.

Mr. T. Williams

The estimate on (v) is about £1,250,000. It is difficult to give a reasonable estimate of the administrative expenses, but we think the figure may be somewhere in the region of £75,000.

Mr. C. Williams

I did ask how many people.

Mr. T. Williams

I am afraid I could not tell the hon. Member that.

Mr. C. Williams

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his answer and would just say this in criticism: once again we are asked to expand the number of officials. Everyone knows there are thousands of officials employed by the Government who can quite easily be put into these jobs.

Mr. T. Williams

If I may say so, with respect, the hon. Member is wrong. This is not likely to employ any more officials at all.

Mr. C. Williams

Again I thank the right hon. Gentleman. It is astonishing how knowledge has suddenly descended on him. A moment ago he knew nothing about it. How quickly the Government learns when asked to face the point, but it is a pity he presents these estimates without making sure of the facts.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolution to be reported upon Monday next.