HC Deb 15 May 1968 vol 764 cc1200-1
10. Mr. Wall

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the White Fish Authority's proposal for a statutory minimum prices scheme.

42. Mr. James Johnson

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the cost to the Government of financing a statutory minimum prices scheme as proposed by the White Fish Authority.

Mr. Hoy

We are ready to consider any scheme that may be submitted by the White Fish Authority.

I understand that no Exchequer contribution is proposed.

Mr. Wall

Is it not a fact that the original scheme was turned down by the industry because there was no Exchequer contribution? Are the Government prepared to reconsider this decision and to make a financial contribution in future?

Mr. Hoy

The scheme was not turned down for that reason, but because of lack of support. I remind the hon. Gentleman that he changed his opinion about the minimum prices scheme as a result of representations from the inshore fishermen.

Mr. Johnson

Will the Minister accept that a viable scheme of this nature, by giving higher financial yields to those catching fish, might mean in the end less Government subsidy, for which the Opposition are now clamouring?

Mr. Hoy

It may have that effect, but the Authority's proposals at present are a matter for discussion between it and the industry. It would be wrong for me to make any comment before the scheme had been submitted.