HC Deb 21 May 1980 vol 985 cc239-41W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how he arrives at an estimate of Government aid for fishing of £23 million in 1980–81; how much of this is operating aid of the type available to fishing in other EEC countries; and how this compares with the total amount made available, measured in the same way, by France, Germany, Holland and Denmark to their fishing industries.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The figure for Government aid for the fishing industry for 1980–81 is made up of the following provisions:

Grants and loans for construction and improvement of vessels 13.7
Grants and loans for harbour works 4.6
Grants and loans for processing operations 2.2
Fish Producers Organisations Subsidy Scheme 2.0
Exploratory Voyages 1.0

In addition, rebates on fuel duty for fishing vessels may be worth £0.8 million. There is also provision for research and development and for fishery protection services.

The lack of a clear definition of "operating aids" makes it difficult to compare the aids given by member States of the European Community in the way the hon. Member asks. I will write to him with information about the aids available in the countries to which he refers.

Mr. Henderson

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what response he has made to the telex of 2 May from Mr. David Aitcheson on behalf of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, the British Fishing Federation and the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Together with my right hon. Friends the Minister and the Secretary of State for Scotland I met representatives of all sections of the United Kingdom fishing industry on 13 May. This meeting provided an opportunity to discuss fully the problems facing the industry and the various requests for action which have been made by a number of fishermen's organisations. A further meeting will be held in July to reassess the situation in the industry in the light of developments in the domestic market and the consideration which is being given within the Community to reference prices and tariffs.