HC Deb 31 July 1981 vol 9 cc622-3W
Mr. Body

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement about the White Fish Authority's request for a short-term loan.

Mr. Peter Walker

The White Fish Authority has sought a Government loan to meet a recent increase in its requirement for a working cash reserve. The administrative costs of the authority are funded by a levy on the sales of fish; since the authority is shortly to be replaced by the Sea Fish Industry Authority, it will be for the new authority rather than the White Fish Authority to propose amending the present rate of levy.

The Government have therefore agreed that a sum of up to £300,000 in loan on which the White Fish Authority and its successor may draw may be made available under the provisions of section 22(1) of the Sea Fish Industry Act 1970 and section 13(2) of and schedule 3 to the Fisheries Act 1981. The rate of interest will be that charged on loans for up to one year from the National Loans Fund. The loan is a temporary arrangement, which is made in the expectation that the new Sea Fish Industry Authority when established will decide urgently its expenditure requirements, including repayment of the loan, and submit appropriate new levy regulations to Fisheries Ministers for confirmation. Final repayments under the loan agreement are to be made by 30 September 1982.

Parliamentary approval of this new service will be sought in Supplementary Estimates; pending that approval, calls on the loan will be met by repayable advances from the contingencies fund. No increase in departmental cash limits will be required.

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