HC Deb 10 November 1944 vol 404 cc1657-8W
Mr. R. Morgan

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether his Ministry has kept close control over the R.A.F. fishing boats at Scarborough; whether there have been any inquiries into the nature of its transactions, especially of an extra R.A.F. character; whether the Regulations have been closely adhered to in all cases; and what is the present position of this organisation.

Sir A. Sinclair

This enterprise was started in 1941 by the R.A.F. flying training units at Scarborough on account of difficulties then being experienced in obtaining regular supplies of fresh fish through normal channels. Supplies of fish were subsequently extended to R.A.F. hospitals and to a limited number of other R.A.F. units. The scheme brought into use fishing boats which at that time were not fishing, and operated at a profit to P.S.I. funds. It gave rise, however, to some complaints locally, and was accordingly the subject of a careful inquiry by the Air Ministry and Ministry of Food in 1942, when its continuance was approved subject to regulations and modifications which were laid down. These regulations provided for an equivalent deduction from priority supplies of fish distributed by N.A.A.F.I. to units receiving supplies under the R.A.F. scheme and applied equally to the distribution of fish from Torquay, where the whole catch of four boats was purchased. A further review of the arrangements was made in 1943, when they were again modified. From the outset, it was a rule that sales of fish were to be confined to R.A.F. personnel and I have no reason to believe that this rule was not strictly adhered to. At one time, small supplies of fish were made free to the fishermen employed and to the members of the local board of management, but orders were given that this practice should be discontinued. At the inception of the scheme, prices charged to R.A.F. messes compared favourably with N.A.A.F.I. prices; as the price of fish fell, however, it was found that a corresponding reduction in the prices of fish supplied from R.A.F. sources could not be made without running the organisation at a loss. The scheme was accordingly discontinued some months ago.