HC Deb 05 May 1971 vol 816 cc1507-37

10.10 p.m.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. James Prior)

I beg to move, That the Fishing Vessels (Acquisition and Improvement) (Grants) (Amendment) Scheme, 1971, a copy of which was laid before this House on 20th April, be approved. This is a short Scheme and, in itself, straightforward. It gives effect—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Will hon. Members withdraw in a quiet and orderly fashion.

Mr. Prior

It gives effect, so far as the fishing industry is concerned, to the changes the Government announced last autumn in the whole system of investment incentives. We have, of course, just had a very full debate on the Bill which seeks to apply these proposals to industry generally. The House, therefore, has had an opportunity to examine the overall policy of which this Scheme is an example. Our task now is to consider the Scheme against the background of these wider proposals for industry as a whole.

Hon. Members will recall that, before investment grants were introduced in 1966, the acquisition or improvement of fishing vessels attracted grant at the rates which appear in the Scheme before us tonight. The previous Administration did not, however, make such vessels eligible for investment grants. Instead, they added 10 percentage points to the rates of grant already available. What we are now doing here is to restore the grant rates to the level they were at originally in 1966. In the case of inshore vessels—that is, those of less than 80 feet in length—the rate of grant will again be 30 per cent., and for deep sea vessels it will be 25 per cent.

That, broadly, is the purpose of the Scheme. But, in view of the somewhat unusual procedural background against which it has been made, I ought perhaps also to draw the attention of the House to two specific features contained in it.

First, the Scheme allows applications made up to and including 26th October last to be approved for grant at the old rates. This is essentially where it differs from the Scheme which was laid last December and which, as I said on 6th April in reply to the hon. Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. Leadbitter), my right hon. Friends and I have now decided not to ask this House to approve. That scheme required an application to have been received—as opposed to made—by the White Fish Authority or Herring Industry Board by that date in order to qualify for the higher rate of grant. So, by making this change, we are endeavouring to meet one of the points made by the Select Committee which was concerned to ensure that no bona fide application which may have been made before the policy change was announced should be prevented from benefiting from the higher rates of grant merely because it happened to have been received after the deadline originally laid down.

Secondly, the new Scheme differs in that it specifies that the lower rates of grant shall not apply to any applications approved before it comes into operation. This will, I believe, meet another of the points which troubled the Select Committee. The Committee was worried lest an application received on 27th October and approved that same day might be nullified. In practice, there is inevitably a time gap between the receipt and the approval of an application. But the revised Scheme makes the criterion for approval the making rather than the receipt of the application, and this makes it clear that for any such application the approval already given would stand.

I hope, therefore, that, against this background, the House will be prepared to give this Scheme a fair wind. In saying that, I recognise of course that hon. Members on both sides may well have received inquiries from their constituents about when they can expect to receive grant, and I for one very much regret any delay there may have been in certain cases on that score.

I think that this is one of those difficult situations which are bound to arise from time to time in the consideration of Statutory Instruments. Government Departments are not omniscient, and it is valuable to have the oversight by the Select Committee. I am sure the House would agree that, in the light of the differing views taken of the earlier Scheme by the Select Committee and by the Special Orders Committee in another place, it was right for us to reconsider the position and to replace the original Scheme. This has, as I say, led to regrettable delays, but I do not think that their effect should be exaggerated: a number of applications require a lengthy technical appreciation before approval could be given anyway, and, in these cases, scrutiny by the White Fish Authority and the Herring Industry Board is proceeding in the normal way. Moreover, there is also inevitably a time-lag between approval of the application and payment of grant. Either way, however, I am sure that everyone would agree that our main concern now must be to ensure that, subject to the approval we are seeking, this new Scheme should come into operation as soon as possible.

10.17 p.m.

Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)

We have had a remarkable speech from the Minister, in the light of the history of the Scheme and the seriousness of the Measure. The Scheme which the Minister asks us to approve has a remarkable history. It seeks to implement a decision of the Government announced as long ago as 27th October to cut grants for the improvement and acquisition of vessels. It takes the place of another Scheme which was approved in another place but was withdrawn by the Government when it was drawn to the attention of the House by the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments that it purported to have retrospective effect where the parent Statute conferred no express authority so to provide. In the formulation of their policy, and attempts to implement it, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and his colleagues the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Secretary of State for Wales have risen to a level of incompetence which is fortunately rare, even in Conservative Governments.

The Minister has tried tonight to satisfy the House that the defects of his action over the previous Scheme have been rectified by the new Scheme. Unfortunately, that is far from being the case. The validity of the Minister's action in issuing a directive to the White Fish Authority and the Herring Industry Board on 27th October to stop approvals of applications for grant assistance is still very much in question. It is astonish- ing, in view of the evidence which was before the Select Committee, that he has not chosen to say one word about this. Nothing he has said tonight removes the uncertainty in the industry about the effect of his actions. In view of his obduracy, it appears probable that only a court will be in a position to decide whether he has acted ultra vires, and only a court will be able to provide the remedy for those who have had their applications for grant held up by the Minister's fiat.

It is important, when considering whether the House should approve this scheme, to have regard to the circumstances in which it was originally brought forward. The decision was announced on 27th October last, apparently in order to meet the requirements of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who that day brought forward his mini-Budget. On the same day, a directive was issued to the White Fish Authority and to the Herring Industry Board to prohibit the approval of applications for grants received on or after that day. Then a period of seven weeks elapsed before the Government brought forward the 1970 Scheme to implement their decision in Parliament. A further period elapsed, and it was not until 16th February that the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments issued its report, a most exceptional proceeding which has occurred in only a handful of cases out of the many thousands of statutory instruments that pass through this House. It drew the attention of the House to a defect on the face of the scheme.

Following this report, my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Cledwyn Hughes) asked the Leader of the House what the Government's intention was in the light of the report. The one saving feature of the Government's action was the reply of the Leader of the House two days later to my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. James Johnson)—that the Government had decided to withdraw the Motion relating to the scheme. However, a further delay occurred and it was not until six weeks later, on 6th April, that the Minister of Agriculture himself indicated that he would lay a new scheme before Parliament and there has been since then yet another delay, this time of a month, before the new scheme has been brought before the House tonight.

A number of charges arise against the Government's handling of the scheme. In the first place, it was apparent that the policy decision announced on 27th October was hastily arrived at and was taken for reasons totally unconnected with the well-being of the fishing industry to meet the convenience of the tidy-minded Chancellor of the Exchequer, who wished to seek from as many Ministers as possible some recognition of his general policy of withdrawing investment grants. The second charge is that the Minister was slow to produce the Scheme to implement that policy and that when he did it was defective.

The third charge is that, although the scheme meets the Select Committee's narrow point of criticism of the old scheme with regard to applications received and approved, it does not validate the Minister's action in issuing the directive of 27th October. The evidence which was taken by the Select Committee from the Minister's officials reveals that there are a number of serious points of criticism which can be made of his action in regard to the issuance of that directive. First, it is provided by the parent statute, the Sea Fish Industry Act, that if a scheme is to be varied or revoked it shall be done by means of the introduction of a new Scheme.

What the Minister has done in effect is to prevent payment under the existing Scheme and prior to the introduction of the new Scheme by the issue of a direction to the authority purported to be made under the general powers contained in Section 4 of the Act. In my view, which I think may be shared by the House, the Minister acted ultra vires in issuing that directive. The Select Committee has questioned whether the directive was of a general character such as to fall within the power contained within Section 4.

I put forward another point in support of the view that this is ultra vires. By normal canons of statutory interpretation, when a special provision is made for the termination of a Scheme it is hard to argue that those special provisions can be derogated from by general power contained in an earlier Section of the same Act.

In my view every applicant—and I understand from a letter I have received from the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland that there are 670 outstanding applications affected by the directive—is put in the position of not knowing whether he is entitled to a grant at the existing rate, under the old Scheme, of 40 per cent. in the case of inshore vessels and 35 per cent. in the case of vessels over 80 feet, or whether he is entitled only to the new rate.

The Act provides in Section 57 that the Minister must make the Orders by Statutory Instrument but he cannot prevent payment by means of a mere Ministerial fiat. I suppose it will remain to be tested in the courts, as it undoubtedly will be, but it is an appalling fact that the Minister has paid no attention in the course of his all too brief speech to the confusion he has created by his actions.

There are consequences arising from the Minister's ineptitude in implementing the policy announced on 27th October to which he has not given a fair or adequate answer. For more than six months the fishing industry has been starved of public money for investment in new boats and the necessary improvement of existing boats. During this time complete uncertainty has prevailed about the Government's ultimate decision over pending applications and about the level of grant which the Government would set when they finally brought forward their Scheme. The Minister appears to dissent from this view, but I received a letter from the Chief Executive of the White Fish Authority, Mr. Meek, as recently as 2nd April which showed that the uncertainty affected not only the fishing industry but also the administering authority. The letter says: As you know, it was the Minister's intention that grants should be payable from 27th October onwards a a rate of 10 per cent. less than had previously prevailed. Now that he has withdrawn the Order which he laid we can only wait and see what future action is proposed. Six months after the policy we still do not know whether it is to be implemented or what the Government's intentions are.

A third consequence of the Minister's inaction and the uncertainty has been that in many cases—I believe the Minister may have been referring to them when he spoke of our constituents pressing us on this point—fishermen have been driven to reconsider their proposals to improve their boats and to acquire new ones. The evidence of this is manifold. I simply refer to the case of one of my constituents, who said in a letter to me: We are in a position where we cannot wait for the Government to decide. The builder is keeping a berth vacant for us and he also has an engine of the type we want. It is not surprising that the builder had a berth vacant for him because the evidence is mounting daily that shipbuilders around the country have many berths vacant and alarm has been expressed in many parts of the country by boat builders as to the consequences of the Minister's action—or, rather, inaction.

In The Scotsman as early as 26th January concern was expressed by Mr. James Miller of St. Monance—probably known to the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, who is present. He said: The cut in grant is bound to put a brake on new building. We turn out a lot of seine netters in the new 54 ft. class and a young skipper would have to put down about £8,000, which doubles his previous deposit. But these concerns have been borne out, and on 23rd April, in the Fishing News, it was reported that lack of orders for new fishing boats is causing concern to some yards in the North East of Scotland. This was made clear at a launching from the yard of Jones, at Buckie, whose Member I do not see in the House. The evidence is multiplied throughout the country.

In the Aberdeen Press and Journal of Wednesday, 28th April, it was said Broch man hits at fish policy". It went on: 'I know what I am talking about', said Mr. Cowe in regard to boat building. [Laughter.] The hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) may not find as amusing as the Minister of Agriculture the predicament of the boat builders in the North-East of Scotland.

The report continued: 'According to my information, the situation in the Scottish boat building yards generally is that work is on hand for longer or shorter periods during this year but new enquiries are not coming forward. There has unfortunately been delay in introducing the amended scheme. This should be submitted to Parliament again very shortly. That is an admission by the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, so it appears that Mr. Cowe's concerns, which were voiced in very strong language, were entirely justified.

But I invite the House to reject the Scheme not only on grounds of the incompetence with which the Government have managed it but also because the cuts proposed have not been justified as being in the interests of the fishing industry, which it is the business of the Minister of Agriculture to protect. It is astonishing that he did not seek to do so. Unlike his hon. Friends in the Department of Trade and Industry who, albeit unsuccessfully, tried to persuade the House and the country that cuts in investment grants are positively beneficial to industry, the Minister of Agriculture has merely said that the cuts are necessary if the Government are to be consistent. Necessary for what purpose, I ask? What kind of logic is it that abolishes investment grants entirely for manufacturing industry and feels obliged to cut the grants by 10 per cent. for this industry?

The Minister has said nothing about the condition of our fleet or about the ageing fleet. He has not said that in January of this year the average age of a trawler was over 13 years. He has said nothing about the condition of the inshore fleet. Does he not care? Why does he remain silent? He seeks to justify his action in terms of the general financial policy of the Government. Perhaps that explains why the Government had no consultations with the fishing industry on the merits of their proposals. The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland wrote to me on 8th January and said: We did not consult the industry about it or expect that fishermen would welcome it. How right he is!

The Minister might have sought justification for the cuts in terms of the prosperity of the industry. He might have spoken on the rise in quayside prices, or the possibility of increased profitability allowing the fishermen to proceed with their obligations even at the reduced rate, but he has offered no such explanation. The present prosperity of the industry is in large part due to the efforts of the Labour Government and to the increased grants made available in 1968 by my right hon. Friend. But the Minister should have had regard to the anxieties about the future and the possible effect of entry into the E.E.C. He should have had regard to the imponderable but real effect of consumer resistance to higher prices and to the rapidly escalating costs which affect this industry just as much as manufacturing industry.

In the light of these facts my hon. Friends will, I believe, find it appropriate and necessary to reject this wholly shameful Scheme.

10.39 p.m.

Mr. Patrick Wolrige-Gordon (Aberdeenshire, East)

I will not follow the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) in his historical analysis. We are discussing boat-builders, and he would have to be a good boat-builder to produce a boat to ride out the heavy weather the hon. Gentleman made of his speech.

Earlier today we discussed the Investment and Building Grants Bill, which is of basic importance in the battle to attract new industry to development areas. We are now discussing something that is even more important; namely, the maintenance of established industry. Boat-building in my constituency is very important. Not only does it employ a number of men in its own right, but in building new boats it is able to service and repair the existing fleet. Remove its opportunity to build and one will risk losing not only the fleet of the future but the fleet of the present.

My right hon. Friend's statement was absolutely clear, and I am sure the fishermen and boat-builders will feel the same way. The harsh fact that the Government must face is that from the date this Scheme was announced there has not been a new order placed in my shipyards in the North-East. The Government are under a misapprehension—and I am sure they do not take this attitude—if they really think that the cause was the mix-up over the introduction of the Scheme, as the Under-Secretary of State suggested in a letter to me dated 8th April. Proof that this is the case is indicated by the fact that after the confusion arose about the Order tentative inquiries came in.

The Under-Secretary also pointed to the fact in his letter that uncertainties about the European Economic Community could also be affecting directly invest- ment plans by the fishermen. In all conscience, I would be very slow to advise fishermen to build until we see how that particular matter turns out. However, some fishermen are already suggesting lightly that if we are going to join the E.E.C. we shall need the best equipment all the more to compete effectively.

The truth is that the E.E.C. is a contributory cause only and that the fishermen and boat-builders directly concerned are adamant that it is the extra 10 per cent. of capital invested, bringing it to 25 per cent. as a result of lopping off this 10 per cent. grant, which is the hold-up. Some 25 per cent. of what could well be a £100,000 bill is a tremendous sum for a private individual in Fraserburgh or Peterhead to find in a high risk industry, even though for many it is a profitable industry and has been for some time.

Moreover, there is the uncertainty about how long this grant is to remain. Might it not come back later? This is always the trouble when Government seeks a certain amount of disengagement. Not that I do not welcome a policy of disengagement. To a certain extent the wholesale and indiscriminate injection of Government money helps to increase costs in certain industries and certainly helps to increase individual reliance on that help rather than on personal resources, but disengaging is a very ticklish and delicate affair. A man crippled in a car accident is not helped by immediately removing his walking stick. Similiarly, removal of this amount of money at one stroke needs steady, sensitive care, not just the incision of a surgeon's knife.

This is why I deplore the refusal by the Government to meet a deputation of my boat-builders. I do not know where the Government get the idea that if they promise to meet a deputation on some matter or other it raises expectations which can only be disappointed. I do not expect that they only have to meet one of my constituents to be immediately converted to his point of view. But I do expect from my own Government the highest standards of personal consideration, respect for the individual and a readiness to discuss matters of crucial importance to my constituents' well-being. I am in no doubt at all that this is what is involved here, and it involves a large number of people. As at 18th March this year the number of men employed in shipbuilding and repairing in the 18 yards belonging to the Fishing and Boat Builders Association was almost 1,100. They can build 63 vessels per annum. They have orders in hand for only 20, and inquiries have dried up. Men are beginning to drift away from the yards. Technical courses and skilled training may go into decline if there is no immediate and obvious use to which to put that training

The situation could hardly be more serious. But I think it could be redressed without any drastic alteration in Government policy. Keep the 10 per cent. off the grant, but accept that a 25 per cent. initial deposit it too high. Add the 10 per cent., therefore, to the loan facility. After all, the Government get that money back with interest, and they have very few disappointments. They could not ask for better security than the men of the Scottish fishing industry.

There is one other brief point that I want to raise, since it could help in this situation. I understand that the Irish fishing industry has just had its best year yet. The Irish are inclined to buy second-hand boats sometimes from Scotland. But invariably they get their new boats from France, Norway or Poland. The reason is that they get a 25 per cent. grant from their Government and raise the other 75 per cent. by means of a loan in the country concerned backed by its Government. They cannot do that here, and I do not understand why. Why cannot exchange facilities for this kind of guarantee be arranged? Demand is great, and our boat-building yards are fully competitive. The only real holdup is the non-supply of loans from this country.

The money must be available. Presumably the White Fish Authority and the Herring Industry Board are loaded with loan facilities for our own fishermen which are not being taken up because of the difficult grant situation.

I hope the Government will give careful consideration to what I have said. It is urgent beyond words.

10.47 p.m.

Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, North)

If ever a Government's policy was condemned out of the mouth of one of their supporters, it was by the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Mr. Wolrige-Gordon)—

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

Certainly not.

Mr. McNamara

The hon. Gentleman has complained about unemployment in his boatyard and has referred to uncertainties about the E.E.C. If that is not condemning his Government, I do not know what is.

My hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) spent a great deal of time attacking the constitutional improprieties of the Minister. My hon. Friend was right to do so, because the right hon. Gentleman spent a lot of time trying to defend himself. But this should not hide from us the disastrous effects that the Scheme is likely to have on the fishing industry, and it should not hide from us the fact that, of all the mean and nasty acts of this Government towards British industry, this is the meanest and nastiest, in view of the small amount of money involved in terms of Government investment in industry as a whole, and its effect on the large number of people involved in the industry.

We should not be surprised, because the right hon. Gentleman has, if I may mix my metaphors, sold the fishing industry down the river. He represents a fishing constituency in this House, and it would be interesting to know his attitude towards fishing subsidies. His attitude to food subsidies in general is ambivalent. He does not like them. However, since he has a constituency interest, he is prepared to go along with them for the fishing industry. However, when he seeks to support subsidies in order to help the Lowestoft industry, at the same time he supports a policy which could kill his own industry if we go into the E.E.C. and adopts the Common Market policies for fisheries which are the subject of negotiation at the moment.

The assertion that this is an iniquitous Scheme comes not only from the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East but from two gentlemen who, to my knowledge, are not card-holding members of the Labour Party. I do not think they are even members by virtue of being members of the Transport and General Workers Union. I refer to the Director-General of the British Trawlers Federation and the President of the Hull Fishing Vessel Owners Association.

The Director-General of the British Trawlers Federation, Mr. Austen Laing, had this to say about the Scheme: The investment grant for fishing vessels has been reduced to the level which prevailed prior to the introduction of investment grants for industry generally. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Government were restoring the position. This is like restoring a building site to its original condition by pulling down the building erected on it.

Mr. Laing continued: It must not be thought, however, that with the abolition of these grants for industry and the reversion to the 25 per cent. rate for fishing vessels that we are returning to the position that existed when grants earlier were at 25 per cent. At that time we enjoyed no investment allowances whereby we were permitted, for tax purposes, to depreciate to the extent of 140 per cent. of the net capital cost of the vessel. These investment allowances have not and apparently are not to be reproduced, so that now we can depreciate for tax purposes no more than 100 per cent. of the net cost of the vessel. Consequently, not only are we worse off than we were last week"— that was when the grants were announced— we are also worse off than we were when the grant was raised from 25 to 35 per cent. Far from restoring the position, the right hon. Gentleman is putting it in a much worse position.

When we consider the prices of new vessels at between £1 million and £1,300,000, it means that, having to pay 10 per cent. more, the increase in the cost of a new vessel is between £100,000 and £130,000.

Mr. Laing goes on: In all fairness, it ought to be acknowledged that the cuts suffered by the fishing industry under 'the Barber's knife' have been relatively slight for, after all, other shipping as well as all manufacturing industry ashore have had their grants abolished completely. That is very nice. I suppose we should be grateful for having only our fingers amputated instead of losing a whole arm. This is the attitude being taken.

I wonder what attitude a distinguished fishing vessel owner in Hull will be taking as a Conservative candidate in Hull when trying to justify to his prospective constituents a tax measure by the Government which will affect their livelihood and employment prospects either in shipyards or on fishing vessels. He will have a very difficult boat to row in the municipal elections.

I turn now to what a fishing vessel owner actually says about it: Mr. Jonathan Watson Hall, President of Hull Fishing Vessel Owners' Association, said owners would now have second thoughts about building. He stated that even with the 35 per cent. grant, increasing costs have made the situation bad enough. Coupled with this, the inability to get fixed prices left the final cost of a new vessel in doubt. Mr. Watson Hall pointed out that among increases the rate at which money could be borrowed to build ships had gone up by 1½ per cent. a short while ago and that this in itself had affected the building situation. Granted that there has been a recent cut in the Bank Rate, but one cannot see that it will have an appreciable effect with increasing costs.

The whole matter of investing in the fishing industry and in new vessels is of primary importance at the moment. The Fishing News, in its last issue, talks of a new investment policy by the West German Government industry, which is to spend £30 million on 15 new vessels with a freezing capacity of between 40 and 50 tons per day and a hold capacity of 800 tons. This is the kind of competition which our vessels will have to face if we go into the Common Market.

At a time when we should be seeking to expand our fleet, improve the quality of our vessels, and get rid of the old vessels which can be so unseaworthy on occasions, the Government are deliberately cutting grants in a mean and nasty fashion.

We must also consider the effect that this will have on the safety factor involved in the building of vessels. My hon. Friend spoke about the average age of the fleet. We have recently had a vessel go ashore off Iceland. That vessel, the "Caesar", out of Hull, is over 20 years old. But for the weather conditions, we might have had a tragedy to compare with those terrible disasters we experienced in Hull a few years ago. Fortunately, by the grace of God, we avoided it. But these old vessels must be replaced, and safety factors should be our prime concern. My Government, to their eternal credit, introduced special grants for safety facilities. Now when there is to be a cut back on vessels, there will be a great temptation to cut back on these safety and welfare facilities. I should have thought that the Minister would have tried to set the industry in that context.

Prices are firm and catches are earning good money, but this is because there is a shortage of fish, and it is no reason for cutting the grant. It is in those circumstances that an impetus should be given to the owners of vessels to build, and the impetus of that extra 10 per cent. would have been welcome.

We must consider not only the policy of the E.E.C. and the uncertainty about building vessels but also the fact that we know nothing of the Government's policy on the operating subsidy which ends halfway through this year, and which we introduced with such great success. On all these counts, the Government are creating a very stormy climate for the fishing industry.

When this first cut was announced, Fishing News, in an editorial which went on for two pages, said: Coming as it has between consideration and decision, the cut in the grant to 25 per cent. could not have been more ineptly timed. If that was true in November, it is even more true today. It is almost as if the Government had decided that we should cease to be a trawling nation and that we should seek our fish at high import prices from the better supported industries of other countries. It went on: As we are sure this was not the intention, we must attribute the cut and its timing to inexperience or bad advice. In terms of the Minister and this Government, we have had inexperience and bad advice, and what we are saying is that the Government are deciding that we should cease to be a major trawling nation.

10.58 p.m.

Sir John Gilmour (Fife, East)

One of the difficulties in fishing debates is sorting out the information as it applies to the different sections of the industry. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) mentioned the distant water vessels and the fact that there has been a shortage of fish. But an answer given me by my right hon. Friend today shows that the landings of the inshore fleet in Scotland over the period 1965–70 went up by 9 per cent. in volume and 47 per cent. in value. It is reasonable that, in considering the increase in value, my right hon. Friend should consider whether the rate which was paid last year or the year before is necessarily the rate which should be paid over the next years.

When I talk to the fishermen or boat builders in my constituency—Mr. Miller of St. Monance has been mentioned—they tell me, "What is causing us trouble is not the rate of grant, but what is to be future of the fishing industry. What are the Government's intentions towards seeing that there is a good future for the industry?" They say that the rate of grant they are paid does not matter in the least and that unless they know that there is a future for the industry, there is no purpose in replacing any of their boats.

It is much more important to us today to know what the future of the fishing industry is to be. I glean from what my right hon. Friend has said that if he considers it possible to reduce the rate of grant payable for fishing vessels, he must think that the future of the fishing industry is good, because he would not present a Scheme to that effect if he thought that the future of the industry was in any doubt.

I take a certain amount of cold comfort from what my right hon. Friend has said, because it means that he must be saying to his right hon. Friends in the Cabinet that a policy that would reduce the profitability of the industry is not something that he can honestly support if, at the same time, he is applying a reduction in the grant for fishing vessels. I therefore feel that we ought to rest our case on this today.

There are, however, one or two questions which I wish to put to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary before he replies to the debate. Does he feel that 80 ft. is a magic figure for an inshore fishing vessel? I have heard a great many people say that there is a need for vessels to be designed and built in such a way that they can operate economically with the smallest number of crew, catch the maximum amount of fish and be of maximum efficiency, and they ask whether an 80 ft. cut-off is inviolable. I therefore ask my hon. Friend to consider this.

I should also like to hear from my hon. Friend, because of the figures he gave in his answer today concerning the profitability and the increasing catches of the inshore fleet, what is the relative situation concerning repayment of loans as between the inshore fleet and the middle-distance and far-distant fleets. This information would be helpful to us.

I am certain that no one, in any industry, is ever happy at a reduction in any grant which is paid to it. On the other hand, what we are all striving for—at least, on this side of the House—is to establish in the industry a situation in which everyone is able to make a profit without being grant-aided before he can make that profit. My right hon. Friends must jolly well ensure that the policies they advocate for industrial fishing in the North Sea and round the coasts of Scotland allow our fishing fleets to operate profitably over the next 10 or 15 years. Unless they work to this end, it does not make a hoot of difference what Scheme they put before us today, because otherwise the whole thing will simply be hot air.

11.03 p.m.

Mr. Albert Booth (Barrow-in-Furness)

As the Minister has pointed out, the Statutory Instrument which we are debating replaces a previous Instrument which was laid before the House and then withdrawn before it was debated. The reason for its withdrawal, as the Minister has also said, is that the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments reported the previous Instrument to the House on specific grounds. The grounds on which the Select Committee can report a Statutory Instrument to the House are narrowly defined. It does not follow that the grounds as stated in the Report to the House contain in any detail the criticisms implicit in the decision to report to the House.

In introducing the Scheme, the Minister has either blatantly disregarded the very serious criticisms implicit in the evidence taken by the Select Committee or hopes that the House has not read the evidence. I suggest this, certainly in part, because the previous Instrument was withdrawn between the time when the evidence was taken by the Select Committee and the date when that evidence was published.

The House was, therefore, told of the withdrawal of the Instrument before having an opportunity to read the evidence. Only one of the criticisms implicit in the evidence of the Select Committee in respect of the previous Instrument has been met in the Instrument which is before the House tonight, and while I wish to be brief, because a number of hon. Members are anxious to speak on the subject, I must mention the other criticisms.

The first is the failure of the Minister to comply with Section 4 of the Sea Fish Industry Act, 1970, which lays upon him and his fellow Ministers who are signatories to the Order a clear requirement to publish the directives which he sent to the White Fish Authority and the Herring Industry Board. The Ministers gave a Written Answer on 27th October and the terms of that Answer were not the precise terms of the direction that had been sent to the Boards.

I therefore ask the Minister tonight, before we decide whether to pass this Instrument, why the terms of the directive which was sent to the two Boards were not published. While, as Chairman of the Select Committee, I have a considerable interest in this matter, I certainly had not seen the terms of the directives until I read them in the evidence of my own Committee. In other words, I heard them for the first time when the evidence was taken. This is, therefore, a serious matter.

Far more serious, though—and this is the burden of my main complaint against the Government—is the fact that they did not comply with the strict statutory requirement of the parent Act, under which this Instrument is made, to consult the two Boards before they gave directives.

When the representative of the three Ministers came before the Committee to give evidence and was questioned on this point of consultation he said that the nature of the consultation was inevitably limited because the Government had taken an overall decision about investment grants. When pressed further, he said that consultation was necessarily brief. However, when pressed still further, it transpired that there had been no consultation whatever.

In fact, a civil servant had telephoned the Boards on the day the directives came out, probably in the morning, and said, in effect, "This afternoon you will receive a directive." What sort of consultation was that? Why did not the Government comply with the requirement to consult, which is clearly laid down in the Act?

I remind the Minister that if, under a Bill about which there has been a lot of discussion recently, a requirement to consult were laid on trade unions before they issued a notice to strike and a union official telephoned the boss in the morning telling him that a strike would take place that afternoon, the unionists concerned would not get much sympathy from the Industrial Court. That is the degree of consultation, if one can call it that, that took place in this instance.

The parent Act gives the Minister power to give general directions to the fishing Boards. It is, however, highly questionable whether the directives sent on 27th October were of a general nature. Indeed, somebody whose application was received the day after might have been forgiven for thinking that it was not a general directive, but highly selective, in that it has a particular effect upon applications which by now would have been approved but for that directive, on the 27th October.

In the strict legal sense the question that the House must answer is: can the Minister, within the powers conferred upon him by the parent Statute, give a directive which relieves the White Fish Authority and the Herring Industry Board of their statutory duty to approve grants? They have a statutory duty to approve grants, and on my reading of the parent Act it is by no means clear that the Minister can take that statutory duty from them. It was implicit in the debates that took place on the parent Act that the general directions to be given were to influence the boards in the type of vessels which would qualify for grant. It was certainly not implicit that the Minister should have power to say, "You shall not approve on this date", or "You shall not approve between certain dates." The Minister has gravely failed in the duty placed upon him by the Act in that respect.

Lastly, the Minister has failed to meet the serious criticism that his directive has a retrospective effect which he has no power whatsoever to apply to any applications for grants. The major criticism in respect of the retrospective effect is not the one that the Minister has met—the question whether an application is received on the day before, or the actual day of the directive. Although legally important, that factor can have had only a small effect. What is of real importance in terms of retrospection is the fact that no grants have been approved between 27th October and today. People may have suffered loss of grant for several months as a result of the directive.

The Government have been seeking, in legislation this year, to put 10 million trade unionists within a legal framework. I suggest that before they start putting other people in a legal framework they should stick within the legal framework within which they themselves are intended to work.

11.13 p.m.

Mr. Iain Sproat (Aberdeen, South)

I am glad to have a chance to intervene in this debate, which is of great importance to my constituency of Aberdeen and to the whole of the Scottish trawling industry. I shall be succinct, and concentrate on one subject—the problem of financing the replacement of old trawlers, about which people in Aberdeen are extremely concerned. Forty vessels of the fleet—that is, about one-third of the fleet—are over 12 years old and 42 are over 10 years old. It is obvious that at this stage plans for replacement should be well in hand, but they are not, because of the shortage of finance. Money is simply not available.

It cannot be paid out of profits, because they have been pretty tight. It cannot be paid out of reserves, because the reserves are not sufficient to keep up with the rapid rise in costs. I draw my right hon. Friend's attention to the fact that in Aberdeen we feel that the trawling industry has never received support comparable to that given to the agricultural industry. Many of my constituents feel strongly about it. They cannot get money from the White Fish Authority, because since 1966 loans have not been available for boats over 80 ft. Representations have been made to the Government to change this, but none has met with any success.

People cannot get money from that source, and the third source—namely, loans under the Shipbuilding Industry Act Scheme—has no relevance to the trawler owners of Aberdeen, owing to the limitations placed upon the amount of loans. The result is that in Scotland in the last two years only two large trawlers and a few inshore trawlers have been built.

In Aberdeen there is no disagreement with the general philosophy of the Government that we should cut down the extent of the grants made available by the last Government. They are all agreed that they have to stand on their own feet—to use the current phrase. They accept that, but they say that to cut back the grant by 10 per cent., when no loan facilities are available, puts them in an impossible situation.

The result is that Scottish trawler owners must now pay 75 per cent. of the replacement cost of vessels whose cost has risen, since existing vessels were built, by about 250 per cent.—that is exchanging like for like and not taking into account improvements in vessels and so on, which will obviously cost much more pro rata than the original vessel. That sum amounts to roughly £20 million, including both under 80-ft. and over 80-ft. vessels. Twenty million pounds over the next 10 years is something that they cannot contemplate in the present situation.

I know that my hon. Friend looks at these problems sympathetically and with great knowledge from his constituency. I ask him to bear in mind that my constituents engaged in the Scottish trawling industry feel that either loan funds should be given to the White Fish Authority for the building of these new boats, or that guarantees should be given to the Authority so that the loan money can be found elsewhere by the Authority and given to the industry. The Scottish trawling industry at present feels strongly that it is at a crossroads and it would like a firm indication tonight of the Government's policy regarding its future, because it feels that it is being sacrificed to the under 80-ft. boats—rightly or wrongly, this is the impression that has gained ground—and it wants an indication of the Government's priorities towards it.

I hope that the Government will look again at this matter and give sympathetic consideration to making available, in one form or another, loans for the Scottish trawling industry. If they do not, there is grave danger of a serious decline in that industry with incalculably harmful consequences to the port and the city of Aberdeen.

11.17 p.m.

Mr. Ted Leadbitter (The Hartlepools)

My hon. Friend the Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth) nut a very pertinent set of questions to the Minister, and I hope that the Minister will seek to satisfy him. But, in view of the Question which I put to him on 6th April, I feel that my hon. Friend's questions are more pertinent, in view of the gravity of the situation which has developed because of the withdrawal of the original Scheme and because of the lack of consultation to which my hon. Friend referred.

I asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food … how many applications have been received for grants for the provision of fishing vessels since 27th October, 1970; what is their total value; how many have been granted; how many decisions were delayed or refused; what explanations has he given … I put that Question for an obvious reason. I have become aware of the concern in the industry arising from the lack of consultation and, indeed, the dilemma in which many hon. Members with fishing interests were placed when the Statutory Instrument was laid in that period. Therefore, when I received the Answer, I was astounded that my suspicions had not only been confirmed but that the situation was much worse. The Answer was in these terms: These grants are administered by the White Fish Authority and Herring Industry Board, who tell me that by the end of March …"— that is this year … some 700 such applications had been received in Great Britain, though none have as yet been approved. When I was a member of the Estimates Committee that studied the fishing industry in 1966–67—as a consequence we produced the tenth Special Report for the observation of the Department—I was fully aware of the concern in the fishing industry about grants and replacement of vessels.

I was not the only one. In 1967 the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Mr. Wolrige-Gordon) said this: The cost of a new boat with new gear today is almost prohibitive for any young man starting out … It would not be possible"— that is, to start out— without these grants, and I am glad that the Government"— it was then a Labour Government— have increased the rate."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th July, 1967; Vol. 175, c. 686.] I am sorry to make this reference to the hon. Gentleman in absentia, but he said exactly the opposite today. That is typical of the changing posture of hon. Members opposite. I do not doubt the hon. Gentleman's sincerity. No one should doubt the sincerity of an hon. Gentleman who expresses concern about his constituency. The hon. Gentleman expressed concern about the unemployment and lack of activity in the yards in his constituency. Yet he welcomed the philosophy of disengagement.

The hon. Member, unlike the Minister, does not have the advantage of a brief prepared by professional advisers. The Minister is totally and irrevocably responsible for a situation which has caused hardship to at least 700 applicants for grants and to the seamen. The Minister's Answer to me continued: I am informed, however, that it would not be practicable to provide the other detailed information in the form requested. I had asked the Minister to state the total value of the grants. I subsequently became Chairman of the Estimates Sub-Committee. From personal knowledge and experience I can say that it would have been possible for the Minister, if he had wanted to be frank with the House, at least to have given me a broad general valuation of what the applications involved.

The Minister's Answer continued: Approvals were deferred until the Fishing Vessels (Acquisition and Improvement) (Grants) (Amendment) Scheme, 1970, could be brought into operation. Differing views, however, were taken of that Scheme by the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments of the House and by another place and the Special Orders Committee there, and my right hon. Friends and I thought it right to examine the resulting situation with care."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th April, 1971; Vol. 815, c. 80.] Why did the Minister give me an explanation which has been confounded by my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow-in-Furness?

Second, if the Government decided as a result of the Select Committee's view to consider the situation with care, why did not they consider it with care before? The trouble is that they produced a Statutory Instrument without consultation with the industry and without complying with the normal considerations.

In addition, I should have expected the Minister to be very careful to note the Fleck Committee's recommendations on grants, and to consider the well-known, established practice that such schemes have to be prepared by the Department and the Treasury after consultation with the statutory bodies and the industry, and then submitted to Parliament. That was not done.

After all this time the Minister has now got around to placing before Parliament the new Statutory Instrument. He has failed to say what the consequences will be for the industry. He said that there is a new percentage rate of grant, qualified in terms of length of vessel and the other matter to which he referred in a dismal, elementary speech. I do not think that the civil servants in his Ministry could have written it. He has sat on his bottom and tried to find a small excuse for his past inefficiency. Why not be honest with the industry and the House for a change and tell us by what amount his Ministry calculates the fishing industry will be deprived of financial support? To what extent has consultation with the industry brought about any area of agreement? Is not he aware that the industry is anxious to have more aid? The hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Mr. Wolrige-Gordon), who I am glad to see has returned to the Chamber, declared in 1967 that the price of ships was prohibitive, but it is more so today. I am glad to see him back. There is no case for a reduction in grant.

We are entitled to an explanation why there are now 700 applications not dealt with. We do not know the extent of the hardship. We do not know what representations have been made to him, and we do not know why it has taken so long to bring this Statutory Instrument before the House after such a mess was made of the first one.

Much mention has been made of other matters concerning the industry, not the least of which is the Common Market. There are many hon. Members who thought that those of us who were anti-Common Marketeers were rebels, but we are now becoming quite respectable, I gather. The consequences of joining the Common Market would be very hard on the fishing industry. I leave that matter there.

The men who go to sea require vessels with modern equipment, including navigational equipment, and they require confidence in the House. There may be arguments one way or another when we talk about industry or the economy in general, but we are talking about a specific industry now. The men in the fishing industry work in very dangerous conditions, and it is important that confidence in that industry should be supported by a Government at least being more frank with it than they have been.

11.30 p.m.

Mr. Hamish Gray (Ross and Cromarty) rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. I understand that the Under-Secretary of State wants to begin his reply at twenty-eight minutes to eleven o'clock, so the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray) has two minutes.

Mr. Gray

This will be a very brief contribution, Mr. Speaker.

It is only fair to say that anyone who represents a constituency with any fishing interest must regret the necessity for reducing the amount of money which is to be available for these boats. But I thought that my right hon. Friend made a reasonable case for a decision which I would not pretend to enjoy having to bear any more than any other hon. Members who represent fishing constituencies. It is significant that the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) had to spend so much time making heavy weather in criticising my right hon. Friend.

Whatever the fears and troubles the industry sees in the reduction of grant, in the eyes of the industry they are minute compared with the problems which it sees should we join the European Economic Community. It is not unnatural that an industry so dependent on our own shores and the fishing rights and limits around them should have genuine fears as to what would happen were those limits to be removed. I hope that my right hon. Friend will convey to our negotiators the very genuine fears which exist in the inshore fishing industry about the possibility of joining the Common Market without adequate safeguards of the limits. I hope that the Government will give full consideration to the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Mr. Wolrige-Gordon), because he may find something of a compromise in them.

10.32 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Home Affairs and Agriculture, Scottish Office (Mr. Alick Buchanan-Smith)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray) for his brief speech. I apologise to the House for taking so short a time to reply, but in view of the number of hon. Members who wished to speak I thought it best to compress what I had to say. I appreciate the points raised by hon. Members who represent fishing constituencies. I understand their feelings, and also the feelings of those who were unable to speak and would like to have done so. I appreciate that most of hon. Members who spoke had in mind the genuine interests of the fishing industry. I, too, want to help those who gain their living from the sea.

Two main arguments have emerged. The first is the legal argument, specially raised by the right hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Booth) and several others. The second argument is on the financial effects. I will deal with the legal argument first. I listened with respect to what the hon. Member for Barrow-in-Furness said because of his position on the Select Committee. Obviously, the Government paid considerable attention to the Select Committee's Report, but to put this matter into perspective one must remember that the view of the Select Committee of our House was not the view taken in another place.

Even in this matter it is not so cut and dried as we might like. The important point of retrospection is dealt with in the way we have reintroduced this Scheme. It covers the point in that no applications which are approved are affected by this Scheme. The fact that the cut-off date is the making of the application in the current Scheme and not, as in the previous Scheme, the receipt of the application, makes absolutely certain that this question of retrospection ought not to apply.

The question of consultation with the industry was referred to. I freely admit that consultation with the industry was brief, but it did take place. It took place in the context of the budgetary proposals of the Chancellor. In that context of decisions affecting not only the fishing industry—

Mr. James Sillars (South Ayrshire) rose

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

No, I will not give way. I have given hon. Gentlemen the chance to speak. I could have cut some hon. Gentlemen from the debate and got to my feet earlier. While these consultations were brief, at the same time they did take place in the context of the wider background in which budgetary decisions were being taken. The action was the only action a responsible Government could have taken.

The direction given to the Herring Industry Board and the White Fish Authority was of a general character. It was not specific and it affected all the applications made after the announcement, not any particular application. I would remind hon. Gentlemen that Ministers have discretion to publish the direction in such manner as they think fit and a Written Answer to a Parliamentary Question was an entirely appropriate thing—

Mr. McNamara

Typically cowardly.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith


Mr. Booth

When did the consultation take place? Why was it said that consultation had not taken place?

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes (Anglesey)rose

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I am sorry, I will not give way. Many hon. Gentlemen wanted to speak and I left myself with seven minutes in which to reply. In deference to those who have taken part in the debate it is only fair to reply to those who have asked questions.

I should like to deal with the question of the financial effects of the Scheme which is the important—

Mr. Maclennan

On a point of order. The Minister has suggested in his last remarks that he is unwilling to answer questions because he had to allow hon. Members to have the opportunity to take part in the debate. When my hon. Friend the Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. Leadbitter) sat down no one rose to speak and Mr. Speaker had to get up and indicate to the Minister—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)

Order, I am afraid that that is not a point of order for me.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I should like to deal with what the hon. Gentleman has said. I purposely left myself nearly three minutes to deal with the real matter of this Scheme. He has now left me with half a minute. He dealt purely with the legalistic arguments and he hardly dwelt for a moment on the effect of the Scheme. At the same time he chided this Government for taking seven weeks to make the Scheme. I would remind him of the behaviour of his own Government when they introduced the first of two Schemes introduced in 1967. It was made on 8th February. To what policy statement did that Scheme relate? It was related to the policy statement made the previous March. Twelve months earlier—twelve months.…

It being one and a half hours after the commencement of Proceedings on the Motion, Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted Business).

The House divided: Ayes 147, Noes 124.

Division No. 356.] AYES [11.40 p.m.
Adley, Robert Berry, Hn. Anthony Brinton, Sir Tatton
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Biffen, John Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Biggs-Davison, John Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus, N&M)
Atkins, Humphrey Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Carlisle, Mark
Awdry, Daniel Boscawen, Robert Chapman, Sydney
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher
Balniel, Lord Bray, Ronald Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Cooke, Robert James, David Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
Cormack, Patrick Jopling, Michael Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Crouch, David Kellett, Mrs. Elaine Rees, Peter (Dover)
Curran, Charles Kershaw, Anthony Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Kilfedder, James Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Digby, Simon Wingfield King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Dodds-Parker, Douglas King, Tom (Bridgwater) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Dykes, Hugh Kinsey, J. R. Rost, Peter
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Kitson, Timothy Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Knight, Mrs. Jill Scott-Hopkins, James
Elliott, R. w. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Knox, David Sharples, Richard
Emery, Peter Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Eyre, Reginald Longden, Gilbert Shelton, William (Clapham)
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Loveridge, John Sinclair, Sir George
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Luce, R. N. Soref, Harold
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) MacArthur, Ian Spence, John
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles McCrindle, R. A. Sproat, Iain
Fookcs, Miss Janet McLaren, Martin Stainton, Keith
Fortescue, Tim McNair-Wilson, Michael Stanbrook, Ivor
Fowler, Norman Mather, Carol Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Stokes, John
Goodhart, Philip Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Goodhew, Victor Miscampbell, Norman Tapsell, Peter
Gower, Raymond Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Moate, Roger Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Gray, Hamish Molyneaux, James Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Green, Alan Monks, Mrs. Connie Tebbit, Norman
Crylls, Michael Monro, Hector Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Gummer, Selwyn Montgomery, Fergus van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hannam, John (Exeter) More, Jasper Waddington, David
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Haselhurst, Alan Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Walters, Dennis
Havers, Michael Onslow, Cranky Ward, Dame Irene
Hawkins, Paul Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Warren, Kenneth
Hicks, Robert Osborn, John Weatherill, Bernard
Hiley, Joseph Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Page, Graham (Crosby) Wilkinson, John
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Holt, Miss Mary Percival, Ian Worsley, Marcus
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Howell, David (Guildford) Price, David (Eastleigh) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Mr. Walter Clegg and
Hutchison, Michael Clark Proudfoot, Wifred Mr. Keith Speed
Iremonger, T. L.
Allen, Scholefield Gourtay, Harry Mendelson, John
Armstrong, Ernest Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Millan, Bruce
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Miller, Dr. M. S.
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Milne, Edward (Blyth)
Bishop, E. S. Hardy, Peter Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Blenkinsep, Arthur Harper, Joseph Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Booth, Albert Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Horam, John Murray, Ronald King
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas O'Halloran, Michael
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Oswald, Thomas
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Cohen, Stanley Janner, Greville Pavitt, Laurie
Coleman, Donald John, Brynmor Pentland, Norman
Concannon, J. D. Kaufman, Gerald Perry, Ernest G.
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Kinnock, Neil Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Lambie, David Prescott, John
Dalyell, Tam Latham, Arthur Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lawson, George Price, William (Rugby)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Leadbitter, Ted Probert, Arthur
Deakins, Eric Lestor, Miss Joan Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Dempsey, James Lomas, Kenneth Roper, John
Doig, Peter Loughlin, Charles Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Dormand, J. D. Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Sillars, James
Eadie, Alex McBride, Neil Skinner, Dennis
Edelman, Maurice McCartney, Hugh Spearing, Nigel
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Mackenzie, Gregor Spriggs, Leslie
Evans, Fred Mackintosh, John P. Stallard, A. W.
Faulds, Andrew Maclennan, Robert Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Femyhough, Rt. Hn. E. McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) McNamara, J. Kevin Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) MacPherson, Malcolm Strang, Gavin
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Marsden, F. Taverne, Dick
Ford, Ben Meacher, Michael Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)
Gilbert, Dr. John Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Tinn, James
Tomney, Frank Watkins, David Woof, Robert
Urwin, T. W. Weitzman, David
Varley, Eric G. Wells, William (Walsall, N.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Wainwright, Edwin Whitehead, Phillip Mr. William Hamling and
Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton) Mr. John Golding.
Walker, Harold (Doncastcr) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)

Resolved, That the Fishing Vessels (Acquisition and Improvement) (Grants) (Amendment) Scheme, 1971, a copy of which was laid before this House on 20th April, be approved.