The Government have decided to continue payment of the white fish subsidy for a further period up to the end of March, 1953, but not to increase the rates generally. Consideration is being given to one or two minor upward adjustments, but the total level of expenditure will be little above that of the last year.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that that statement will give general satisfaction throughout the section of the fishing industry concerned, and also that in some sections of the inshore fishing industry, particularly in the west of England, fishermen are having great difficulty in making ends meet owing to the increase in the cost of gear and in operating costs, and to reduced catches due to the activities of foreign trawlers operating in our own domestic waters?
Mr. T. Williams:
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this subsidy, quite properly, was announced about two years ago as a temporary measure pending the production by the White Fish Authority of objective reports on reorganisation within the industry? Can the right hon. Gentleman say when we are likely to have a report from the Authority which may avoid the necessity for a further continuance of the subsidy?
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the position, after these arrangements have been made, will mean that we shall then have a minimum price, a subsidy, and no maximum price? Can he also say whether, when the controlled maximum price was removed, that was done on the advice of the experts at that time who said that the result would be a lowering of fish prices generally?