§ Mr. McNamara
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what progress has been made in discussion for decasualisation of the fishing industry; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what communications he has received from the British Fishing Federation on statutory impediments or difficulties involved in any scheme to decasualise the fishing industry; and what reply he has sent;
(3) what are his Department's proposals for the decasualisation and restructuring of the British fishing industry.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
Since the meeting I had with the British Fishing Federation on 12th October, which was reported to the House on 19th October, I have examined certain points of possible difficulty identified by the British Fishing Federation concerning the way in which employment legislation and National Insurance Acts might impinge on the decasualisation scheme it proposes. I have replied to the Federation's questions suggesting that this should not be an area of serious difficulty. Although it has informed me that there may be some further318W points on which it requires clarification, I wrote to the Federation on 21st December suggesting that it approach the unions as soon as possible in order not to lose the momentum created by its draft proposals. The Department of Employment does not have proposals of its own for decasualisation of the fishing industry. I regard this as a matter for the industry to solve by negotiation. Of course the Department is willing to provide advice if requested to do so, and to provide a forum for discussion if required. The restructuring of the industry is a subject for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.