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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that shore owners can obtain a grant for a new engine for a new boat but not for a new engine for an old boat although working owners can obtain a grant for both new and old boats; and whether he will reconsider this anomalous situation.
My right hon. Friend is aware of the distinction referred to. The position was carefully reviewed before the introduction of the White Fish and Herring Industries Bill, passed by this House last week, but the conclusion was reached that there was no evidence that the absence of re-engining grants for shore owners seriously interfered with fishing operations.
In view of the fact that it is desirable to have the maximum number of boats reconditioned, is it not a pity that the withholding of this grant should interfere with a single case of an old boat requiring to be reconditioned with a new engine?
I do not think one can assume that there has been such interference. This distinction is not a new one, as my hon. and gallant Friend knows. It maintains one which has been already decided upon, and I think that it is probably wise to retain it.
Is the Minister aware that this is only one of many outstanding problems which have not been dealt with by the Government in recent legislation relating to the fishing industry? Will he consult the industry with a view to having those problems efficiently dealt with in a comprehensive Bill?
Will my hon. Friend accept the assurance that this is a major problem in the fishing industry? Will he undertake to look at the matter again, together with the respective fishermen's associations, which. I can assure him, feel very strongly in this matter?
The strong feeling has been known. It was in view of that and all the other circumstances that this decision was taken, although it was bound not to be universally popular.