HC Deb 02 March 1961 vol 635 cc1742-3
35. Mr. Crosland

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent representations he has received from the employers and trade unions in the fishing industry as to the consequences of the Icelandic dispute; and whether he will make a statement.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. W. M. F. Vane)

Representatives of both sides of the, industry recently expressed their grave concern about the delay in reaching a settlement. They have since informed my right hon. Friend that they are ready to support the Government in accepting the proposals now before the Icelandic Parliament of which my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal informed the House on Tuesday.

Mr. Crosland

I doubt whether that accurately reflects the views of one side of the industry in practice. In any event, in view of the nature of this settlement, which was very much worse than the industry was expecting and which has dealt it a heavy blow, will the hon. Gentleman now expedite a decision on the Fleck Report recommendation that Government aid should be extended to the distant-water section of the fleet?

Mr. Vane

My right hon. Friend is fully cognisant of the need to expedite a decision on the Fleck Report, but the hon. Gentleman will realise that it is a complicated and comprehensive report and that before one can be definite one must appreciate the full implications to the fishing industry.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Have the representations which the Minister has received referred in any way to the inconclusive and unsatisfactory nature of the so-called settlement announced the other day?

Mr. Vane

My right hon. Friend was in close touch with representatives of the owners, skippers and mates and crews over the weekend, and he has consulted them recently about the terms of the settlement which my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal announced in the House.