HC Deb 16 March 1961 vol 636 c1742
37. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the cost of re-equipping the fishing fleet to meet the different conditions which will result from the agreement with Iceland.

Mr. Soames

Decisions on the best way to re-equip the distant water fleet are a matter for the industry in the light of experimental work that has been and will be carried out with Governmental assistance. No estimate can be made until the views of the industry have been formed.

Mr. de Freitas

Did not the Government consider this, seeing that it was one of the factors which they brought into calculation when they agreed to the Iceland terms? Surely they cannot now say that they agreed blindly to the Iceland terms without knowing what the rough cost would be?

Mr. Soames

The two things can be linked too simply in the hon. Gentleman's mind. Whether the Iceland agreement lasted for three years or whether it lasted for more, the fact remains that the industry appreciates that there is a good deal to do in the way of new ships—new freezing ships and the like—and in experimentation with different types of ship, and that is being proceeded with.

Mr. Wall

Can my right hon. Friend at least say when the distant-water section will come within the ambit of the grants and loans scheme?

Mr. Soames

As my hon. Friend knows, that is being considered along with many other matters arising out of the Fleck Report.