HC Deb 19 May 1953 vol 515 cc2033-4

Lords Amendment: In page 5, line 2, after "Kingdom," insert: or in respect of white fish so landed and of voyages so made.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Mr. Nugent.]

11.25 p.m.

Mr. Thomas Fraser (Hamilton)

I wonder if the hon. Gentleman would be so kind as to tell the House what the Amendment does? I have followed this Bill since its introduction and have studied the Lords Amendments and read them against the draft of the Bill. I think I know what this Lords Amendment seeks to do, but I think the hon. Gentleman should tell the House what the Government have in mind.

Will the hon. Gentleman explain this? I make an assumption from my reading of the Amendment that the Government wish to be able to adjust the white fish subsidy as given to middle water trawlers to include a subsidy by reason of the weight of fish caught as is the case in the inshore fishing industry. At present the subsidy given to the middle water industry is based upon the income of the vessel. If the income falls below a certain level a subsidy is given to make up the income of the vessel fishing at sea. In the case of the inshore industry, the subsidy is given per stone of fish landed. I understand that the purpose of the

Amendment is to enable the Government to modify one or other scheme and to enable them to introduce part of the principle applied to the alternative scheme, but I think the House are entitled to know why the Amendment is introduced and what it is all about.

Further, is it intended when this adjustment has been made that the next scheme will be different from the schemes in operation? I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will answer those points.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (Mr. G. R. H. Nugent)

The hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) has correctly interpreted the meaning of the Amendment. It was because I anticipated that he and his hon. Friends would correctly interpret the meaning of the Amendment that I moved the Motion formally. The effect of the Amendment is purely drafting. It is in order to clarify possible obscurity in Clause 5 of the Bill and to make sure that the Bill when it becomes a statute enables my right hon. Friend to use either method in a scheme—either the insurance method which gives a financial subsidy on the voyage, which we have been accustomed to in the past on the near and middle water vessels, or on the weight of the fish caught, which has been the practice in the past with the inshore vessels.

In future we may use either one or other method in any scheme, whichever seems most appropriate. It would be inappropriate to anticipate what will be in the scheme to be brought before the House next month, but the hon. Member for Hamilton will have an opportunity then to see what the proposition is and certainly one of them will incorporate both these features.

Question put and agreed to. [Special Entry.]

Remaining Lords Amendment agreed to. [Special Entry.]