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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from the Scottish fishing industry regarding the proposed increase in the cost of fuel oil; if he is aware that this will result in the laying up of a considerable number of vessels, with consequent unemployment; and what action he proposes to take.
The Scottish and English Trawler Owners and the Scottish Inshore Fishermen asked for increased subsidy when the price of oil rose in January. My right hon. Friends the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Secretary of State have told them that we shall take account of oil costs and other relevant factors in considering the subsidy rates to apply after 1st August next. In the meantime, my right hon. Friend is not aware that any Scottish ships have been laid up, or are to be laid up.
Is the Minister not aware that the Scottish fishing industry, in common with the fishing industry of the rest of Britain, has just received another notice saying that there is to be a further increase in the price of these oils and for the Scottish fishing industry the extra cost will be £¼ million a year? Has he nothing to say to the industry with a view to giving it some assistance to carry it over this extremely difficult period for which it cannot be held responsible?