HC Deb 25 May 1954 vol 528 cc193-4
23. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the discontent among Scottish fishermen consequent upon the reduction in the price fixed for herring purchased for meal and oil; and what replies he has made to the protests of the fishermen.

Mr. J. Stuart

My hon. Friends the Parliamentary Secretaries to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Food and I discussed this matter fully with representatives of the fishermen's associations and the Herring Industry Board on 3rd May, but I regret that the Government do not feel justified in modifying the decision which has been announced.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Minister aware that the fishermen are asking many questions about this, and that I have tried to defend the right hon. Gentleman but cannot? They ask why farmers are getting so much and fishermen so little. What is the answer to that?

Mr. Stuart

I am grateful to the hon. Member for defending me, and I should like to help him to continue. Parliament voted £3 million for the Herring Board under the White Fish and Herring Industries Act, 1953, but so much more of the catch is being sent for conversion to oil and meal that the money voted is in danger of running out. Unfortunately, there has been a reduction in the human consumption. I am afraid that the Government could not see their way to continue to pay the subsidy at the higher figure.