HC Deb 02 March 1971 vol 812 cc1384-5
12. Mr. McNamara

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will announce the result of his review into the operating subsidy for the deep sea fishing fleet after mid-1971.

62. Mr. James Johnson

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will be meeting with the British trawling industry to discuss his review of subsidy policy.

Mr. Prior

I cannot yet say, but I shall be in touch with the industry as soon as possible.

Mr. McNamara

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when he hopes discussions will start? Can he give an undertaking first, that the principles upon which the subsidy operates will remain the same and, secondly, that there will be more money available for the industry in view of its increasing costs?

Mr. Prior

Consultations with the industry will be taking place before long. It would be wrong of me to prejudge those consultations by giving the hon. Gentleman the assurances for which he asks.

Mr. James Johnson

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that this is the important year for the Common Market negotiations? Will he give the House an assurance that he will keep in the closest touch with all sections of the fishing industry—owners, unions, merchants and the like? Will he afford to them the care and courtesy which he gives to the N.F.U. when he discusses the annual Price Review?

Mr. Prior

The care and courtesy with which I consult the N.F.U. remains a matter of some conjecture. Certainly I am willing at all times to discuss the problems of the fishing industry with all sections of that industry.