HC Deb 21 March 1995 vol 257 cc155-6W
Mr. Gill

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what grants are available for the building, conversion or refitting of fishing vessels in(a) the United Kingdom and (b) other EC countries. [14797]

Mr. Jack

In the United Kingdom, aid for the modernisation of the fleet is currently available only under the safety grant scheme operated by my Department for certain works necessary to obtain a safety certificate under the Fishing Vessel Safety Rules 1975. I have made it clear before that there is no sense in the Government financing grants to increase fishing capacity and efficiency when we are paying large sums of money to decommission fishing vessels.

The position in other member states is that they are free to operate aids for fishing vessels provided they comply with the conditions of article 92 of the treaty of Rome and the guidelines on the examination of state aids in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. Under article 93 of the treaty, the European Commission has responsibility for keeping all such aids under constant review. They compile a full list annually but it is not published because it contains information supplied by member states on a confidential basis. The UK has pressed for this restriction to be lifted. Some summary information is available in the Commission's periodic surveys of state aids in the European Community. The latest of these covers 1986 to 1990 and is available in the Library of the House. Details of individual measures are, however, published from time to time in the Official Journal of the European Communities following Commission approval, as are details of unauthorised aids which the Commission is examining under the procedure set out in article 93(2).

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