§ 1. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware of the difficulties caused to the fishing industry by the present high cost of fishing gear; and what steps, by way of subsidy or otherwise, he plans to mitigate the loss and damage thereby caused to the fishing industry.
§ The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Christopher Soames)
As the hon. and learned Member knows, subsidy is already paid to a large part of the industry. The subsidy rates are reviewed annually in the summer. The cost of fishing gear is one of the factors taken into account and this review will be taking place again later this year.
§ Mr. Hughes
I know what the Minister has said, but does he not agree that in the case of tools and equipment for a productive industry such as the fishing industry there should be special mitigations with a view to reaping economic and other benefits for the nation? Will he now intercede with the Chancellor of the Exchequer at this particular time to see that special mitigations are accorded to the fishing industry?
§ Mr. Soames
As the hon. and learned Gentleman knows, this is reviewed every 550 year. All costs are taken into account. The cost of fishing gear represents between 2 per cent. and 12 per cent. of the total cost, varying with the different types of fishing that is done. I do not consider that it is necessary for me to do any special interceding, as I am confident that the Government will come forward with what is right, proper and fair.