HC Deb 18 January 1984 vol 52 cc305-6
6. Mr. Malone

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations he has had from the fish processing industry in Aberdeen.

Mr. John MacKay

Last month my right hon. and noble Friend the Minister of State received a submission from the Federation of North East Scotland Fish Merchants Associations seeking financial aid for the fish processing industry in its area. After full consideration, my right hon. and noble Friend has informed the federation that its case for aid has not been proved.

Mr. Malone

My hon. Friend will be aware that that answer is disappointing, especially to the small firms engaged in fish processing in the Aberdeen area. Will he concede that those firms form an important and substantial part of the fishing industry in the north-east of Scotland, particularly as they subcontract a substantial amount of work to larger firms, but have been disadvantaged by the fact that they cannot receive EEC aid? Will my hon. Friend do all that he can to make sure that the Sea Fish Industry Authority tries to organise some kind of assistance so that at least a portion of the cake of Government aid going to the fishing industry as a whole will go to these hard-pressed firms?

Mr. MacKay

We have encouraged the SFIA to develop, in consultation with the fishing industry, its proposals to increase the consumption of fish and its ideas for the processing side of the industry. We have asked the small business division of the Scottish Development Agency to contact the federation to see whether there is any way in which it can assist small firms in this industry.