HC Deb 13 February 1951 vol 484 cc188-90
33. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the conflict of opinion expressed by correspondence between the Scottish Herring Producers' Association and the Herring Industry Board, copies of which correspondence have been passed to him, regarding the financial state of the herring trade; and what steps he proposes to take to bring about a united effort on the part of all those engaged in the catching and sale of herring.

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

I have seen this correspondence. It relates to the Government's refusal of an application for a subsidy, which was made and strongly pressed by the Board on behalf of herring catchers, and to certain measures proposed by the Board and accepted by the Government to improve the general position of the industry. I understand that the Board intend shortly to submit further proposals to the Government.

Mr. Stewart

In view of the high point which this controversy has reached, does not the hon. Gentleman think that perhaps he ought to invite the Herring Producers' Association to meet him and the Board and settle what is, after all, a very important matter, which is causing great trouble?

Mr. Fraser

I think that the Secretary of State and the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries must accept that the Board is the instrument selected by Parliament to act as its agency, and we have to await the initiative coming from the Herring Industry Board.

Mr. Boothby

Will the hon. Gentleman remind his colleague the Minister of Food that Parliament intended the Herring Industry Board to be its instrument, and that the Ministry of Food should not be interfering all the time in the most deleterious way in the affairs of the Board?

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the Minister aware that one of the grievances of the herring fishermen in my constituency is that they are liable to the Class Z call-up and that the miners and agricultural workers are not? Will he make representations to his right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour so that the fishermen can be exempted from any call-up of Class Z Reservists?

Mr. Stewart

Do I take it from the hon. Gentleman's answer that he has definitely turned down any suggestion that the Herring Producers' Association should send a deputation to meet him?

Mr. Fraser

Not at all. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the herring producers have been frequently to see my right hon. Friend, but it was the hon. Gentleman who said to me just now, in a supplementary question, that we should arrange for the producers to see the Board and have a meeting with them and the Minister, and I have said in my original answer that I understand that the Herring Board is about to submit further proposals. We shall receive and consider them.

Mr. Hughes

In view of the fact that I have received no reply to my supplementary question, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.

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