HC Deb 04 February 1942 vol 377 cc1192-3W
Mr. Neil Maclean

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he can make a statement regarding the loss to the public, and to the herring industry, in the second week of December, of consignments of herring, worth several thousands of pounds, between Stornoway and their destination owing to delay and mishandling in transit; whether he will agree to the demand for a full inquiry at Stornoway; and what steps have been taken to avoid a recurrence?

Major Lloyd George

In the week ended 13th December, landings of herring at Stornoway were nearly 10 times as great as during any other week of that month. The landing of more than two months supplies of herring in the Hebrides in a single week, and the necessity of bringing the greater part of the catch to the mainland to find a market, would present a formidable problem of transport at any time. Extra boats were chartered to carry the herring but owing to exceptionally heavy weather they had to seek shelter on the passage to the mainland. Unloading at the mainland ports and subsequent transport were delayed by conditions which are inevitable at present. Nevertheless nearly 80 per cent. of the catch was brought to market in good condition. After careful consideration of all the facts, I see no reason for a further, local, inquiry. Measures are being taken by my Department to prevent a repetition of the incident.