asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the recent Seasalter and Ham Fishery Order confers monopoly rights, over a large area in the estuary of the Thames off the north-east coast of Sheppey, on the Seasalter and Ham Oyster Fishery Company for 60 years, and that a considerable number of independent fishermen will be deprived of their livelihood; and whether, in view of the hardship that will be created, he will reconsider his decision to introduce a confirming Bill?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part of the question, this point was thoroughly investigated at a public inquiry recently held at Whitstable, and I am unable to agree that the granting of the Order to the Seasalter and Ham Oyster Fishery Company will prejudice the livelihood of any of the fishermen. The answer to the third part of the question is, therefore, in the negative.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in depriving these people of their opportunity of making a living, they are increasing the unemployment difficulty instead of reducing it?
I am informed that there is no foundation whatever for the allegation that they are being deprived of the opportunity of making a living. An inquiry has already been held, and it has been found that no appreciable injury will be done to anybody.