HC Deb 06 April 1954 vol 526 cc174-5
34. Mr. John MacLeod

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has any information to give the House regarding the use of factory ships in Scottish waters for converting surplus herring into oil and meal.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

The Herring Industry Board is endeavouring to secure the use of two factory ships. I cannot say more at present.

Mr. MacLeod

Can the Minister assure the House that the use of these factory ships will not be to the detriment of the establishment of shore-based factories of an economic size? Can he tell the House who owns these factory ships?

Mr. Stewart

They are Norwegian ships. I do not think that there is any likelihood of the one prejudicing the other kind of production.

Sir R. Boothby

Can my hon. Friend assure me that these factory ships are not the real cause of the unwarrantable delay in erecting the factory at Peterhead?

Mr. Stewart

Yes, Sir.

Mr. MacLeod

Can the Minister assure the House that the taxpayer's money is not toeing used for the benefit of a foreign country and to the detriment of our own people?

Mr. Stewart

The House knows that the processing of herring is an urgent matter. It needs expansion. The Herring Industry Board is considering the best and most economical ways of achieving that purpose.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Why cannot this work be undertaken under British auspices instead of being given to the foreigner?

Mr. Stewart

All these matters are considered, but here is a proposition—and we have gone no further than this—which the Herring Industry Board is examining.