I assume the hon. Member is referring to the £1¼ million 4½ per cent. Iceland Sterling Stock, 1960–69, for which applications were invited on 21st July last. Authority was given for the issue of this stock in order to assist Iceland, as an allied country in the sterling area, to modernise its fishing fleet.
Can the Economic Secretary say what Government Departments were consulted before this authority was given, and will he tell the House whether the British Trawler Federation, vitally affected by it, were consulted over its issue?
The Government consult all the appropriate Government Departments in all these cases, but I should have thought that the modernisation of the fishing fleet of a country which is a member both of the sterling area and of O.E.E.C. was a very desirable object.
Would not the hon. Gentleman also think that the preservation of the livelihood of our own people was equally important, and will he answer my question: which Government Departments were consulted specifically—was the Minister of Agriculture consulted; and secondly, were the British Trawler Federation consulted?
If the Iceland fishing fleet becomes more efficient it should be able to sell its produce here at lower prices and, therefore, the livelihood of our own people will be assisted.