HC Deb 18 May 1950 vol 475 cc1385-6
45. Air-Commodore Harvey

asked the Prime Minister what arrangements he is making for the Ministries concerned to take immediate action regarding the difficulties facing the fishing industry; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

The position of the white fish industry is being examined by the Departments concerned with a view to determining what measures are necessary to help it to overcome its difficulties. Until that examination is completed I am not prepared to make a statement.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Will the Prime Minister say when the decision is likely to be reached? Does he realise that day by day hundreds of men are being thrown out of work, and that unless something is done in the very near future the whole industry will collapse?

The Prime Minister

I am quite aware of the position; inquiries are being pressed on as quickly as possible.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Will my right hon. Friend take care to see that in any such inquiry the restoration of the flat rate for the carriage of fish from Scotland to England is considered, because the present state of affairs is causing considerable unemployment in Scotland? Alternatively, would he consider the provision of a subsidy for the white fish industry?

The Prime Minister

No doubt all these matters will be taken into consideration.

Mr. Douglas Marshall

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the urgency, in the case of the inshore fishing industry, is absolutely desperate?

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that congratulations have been pouring in from fishermen as a result of the action of the Government in solving the difficulties of the herring industry, and can we look forward to the same promptness in coming to a decision in respect of the white fish industry?

Mr. Daines

Is it not strange that the apostles of private enterprise scream out when their principles are applied?

The Prime Minister

We are accustomed to that.

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