HC Deb 19 November 1962 vol 667 cc798-9
10. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is yet in a position to make a statement on the operation under the recent Sea Fish Industry Act of the grants and loans to foreign shipyards, indicating how many orders for the building of ships have been given and how many grants and loans, respectively, have been applied for and authorised and the amounts of those grants and loans to British and foreign shipyards, respectively.

Mr. Soames

Under the 1962 Schemes there have been 41 applications for grant: 40 of these were for loan as well. There have been no applications for a vessel to be built abroad. So far 11 applications have been approved for grants totalling£94,000 and loans totalling£65,000. These grants and loans are given to our fishermen; they are not available to shipyards, whether in this country or abroad.

Mr. Hughes

In thanking the Minister for these figures, may I ask whether he does not realise that the giving of grants and loans to foreign shipyards in competition with British, and particularly Scottish, shipyards where the position is acute and menacing for the coming winter, tends to increase the already great and growing unemployment in those shipyards? Will he say what practical steps he plans to deal with that sad situation.

Mr. Soames

First, I am responsible for the fishing industry and not for the shipbuilding industry. Secondly, the figures show that when we brought in these new regulations we were right when we told the hon. and learned Gentleman that we did not think that he had anything to fear, that it was unlikely that grants and loans would be paid to foreign yards to any appreciable extent as a result of these regulations. As I said in my Answer, since they were brought in there have been no applications at all for vessels to be built abroad.