HC Deb 28 July 1939 vol 350 cc1825-6W
Mr. G. Macdonald

asked the Minister of Agriculture, whether he has considered the petition from the honourable Member for Ince, signed by 187 of his constituents, protesting against the restrictions on fish landings; whether he will state the reasons for such restrictions; and whether it is his intention to remove them at an early date?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. The restrictions under the Sea Fishing Industry (Restriction of Fishing in Northern Waters) Order were put into operation as a remedy for over-production of distant-water fish resulting in a fall in prices to a level unremunerative to the producer. As the provisions of the Order would not in any case become operative again before June, 1940, I propose to defer a final decision on its renewal until next year, when I shall be able to consider the matter in the light of prevailing circumstances. As I have stated in reply to previous questions, I have no power to intervene in the voluntary scheme of control.

Mr. Tinker

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has considered the petition of consumers of fish in Leigh constituency, signed by over 200 persons, protesting against the present restrictions on fish; and will he give favourable consideration to their appeal?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to questions on this subject asked by the hon. Members for Rothwell (Mr. Lunn) Middleton and Prestwich (Sir N. Stewart Sandeman) and Wolverhampton East (Mr. Mander) on 27th July.

Mr. R. Morgan

asked the Minister of Agriculture, for what reason power has not been given to the Sea Fish Commission to buy and sell white fish; and why similar restrictions are not imposed on the Potato Marketing Board?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

Whereas under Section 5 of the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1931, a producers' Marketing Board may be empowered to buy and sell the product regulated by its scheme, the White Fish Commission, which was constituted under the Sea Fish Industry Act, 1938, to keep generally under review matters relating to the white fish industry and to advise and assist the Ministers in such matters, is not a body on which trading powers could appropriately be conferred.

Mr. W. R. Duckworth

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the importance of cheap fish and cheap potatoes in popular food, he will pay special attention to the representations he is receiving on the subject of restrictive and monopolistic proposals affecting these two commodities; and what action he proposes to take?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to a question on this subject asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Stourbridge (Mr. R. Morgan) on 27th July.