HC Deb 21 March 1950 vol 472 c1744
21. Lady Tweedsmuir

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will make a statement on the inter-Departmental inquiries concerning transport rates as they affect the fishing industry in the north of Scotland.

Mr. T. Fraser

It is expected that these inquiries will be completed very shortly. Whenever the report is received my right hon. Friends will give it their immediate attention.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Will the hon. Gentleman say whether the Secretary of State will consider the suggestion that the abolition of the flat transport rate should be postponed for another month, until there has been proper time for consideration of the result of these inquiries?

Mr. Fraser

My right hon. Friend has not the power to postpone the abolition of the flat rate. The industry has rejected, the flat rate and my right hon. Friend cannot impose it upon them.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Is my hon. Friend aware that the present uncertainty as to the freight rate for transport is embarrassing to this essential industry, and will he give some assurance that the industry will be protected either by preserving the flat rate or by means of a subsidy?

Mr. Fraser

I cannot give such an assurance. The flat rate is going because the industry has rejected it. I cannot at this time, or until these inquiries are completed, say that a subsidy will be paid.