HC Deb 07 July 1965 vol 715 cc1560-1
2. Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has yet agreed to a system of reserve prices for fish; and if he will make a statement.

3. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now introduce a minimum pricing scheme for white fish.

46. Mr. Wall

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the progress of negotiations for a statutory minimum prices scheme for white fish.

Mr. Hoy

I would refer the hon. Members to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to the hon. Member for Aberdeen-shire, East (Mr. Wolrige-Gordon) on 26th May.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary realise that there has now been considerable delay in the introduction of this scheme, and that there is a great deal of unanimity in the industry about its desirability? Will he seek to bring it in as quickly as possible?

Mr. Hoy

Yes, Sir. We will bring it in as soon as possible, and negotiations are still going on.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us whether the Treasury has intervened to tell him that he cannot introduce this scheme? Could he come clean about this? The discussion has been going on for a very long time, and there is really no reason why it should not have ceased by now.

Mr. Hoy

Cleanliness is not in question. As I say, the negotiations are going on. If it interests the hon. Gentleman, I will be having a further meeting next week.

Sir M. Redmayne

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that we look forward to a debate on this subject, and allied subjects, and that I hope that he will represent to the Leader of the House that it must be before the House rises for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Hoy

As no one knows better than the right hon. Gentleman, that is a matter for the Leader of the House, but certain Orders will have to be laid, and a debate will take place.

Mr. Wall

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it is essential to reach a decision on this matter before the industry puts its case in the Restrictive Practices Court, and does not that severely limit the time he has to consider the matter? Will he guarantee to make a statement before the end of the Session?

Mr. Hoy

Of course, the question of price fixing will come before the Restrictive Practices Court, but it will be for the Government to make their decision on this issue as soon as they possibly can.

Mr. James Johnson

Whatever decision the Minister takes, will he bear in mind the need to increase consumption of fish at home? Without a guaranteed home market, the deep sea fishing fleets of ports like Hull will not flourish.

Mr. Hoy

Fish consumption is increasing and, of course, it will always be our endeavour to see that it keeps on increasing.

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