HC Deb 04 June 1996 vol 278 cc437-8W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what is the Government's policy towards regulation COM (95) 55; [30763]

(2) what proposals he has for additional payments supplementary to decommissioning awards for shore fishermen who lost their jobs when their vessels were laid up. [30791]

Mr. Baldry

Document COM (95) 55 concerned a proposal which has now been adopted as Council Regulation 2719/95. It amends Council Regulation 3699/93 to allow member states to use funds allocated to them from the financial instrument for fisheries guidance to part-fund an early retirement scheme for fishermen and a compensation scheme for fishermen from decommissioned boats. The Government have always made it clear that they consider that such measures should be covered by national social security policies and are not an appropriate use of FIFG funds. The measures have not been included in those introduced in the UK under FIFG. The Government's view is that the needs of the industry are best served by using limited FIFG funds for decommissioning, vessel safety improvements, and improving marketing and processing and port facilities.

Unlike other self-employed persons, share fishermen have access to contributory unemployment benefits. This gives them special access to unemployment benefit and, from October 1996, to contribution-based jobseeker's allowance.

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