HC Deb 14 March 1979 vol 964 c447
17. Mr. Buchanan-Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the future structure of the Scottish fishing fleet; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Millan

Along with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, I am considering the structure of the industry, but it is too soon for any statement to be made.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I accept the right hon. Gentleman's view that it is impossible to come to a conclusion in advance of the final negotiations on the common fisheries policy. However, does he accept that there is great uncertainty in the industry about its future structure and building plans? Will he give some indication of the programme that he envisages for the renegotiation of the CFP? When does he expect that to come to some conclusion that will enable the industry to undertake proper long-term planning?

Mr. Millan

Unfortunately, it is difficult to be categorical about the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. Progress in the negotiations on the common fisheries policy has been disappointingly slow, as he knows. However, we are not leaving consideration of the structure of the industry to a final conclusion of the CFP. We are considering the proposals of a catching industry working group which was chaired by the White Fish Authority and which has recently sent proposals to the Government.