Sea Fisheries

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st August 1972.

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Photo of Mr Patrick Wolrige-Gordon Mr Patrick Wolrige-Gordon , Aberdeenshire East 12:00 am, 1st August 1972

Some harsh words have been spoken tonight about lame ducks. I shall speak in support of the Government on the introduction of the orders.

The 10 per cent. extra subsidy on the building of fishing vessels was temporary anyway. My right hon. and hon. Friends were quite right to remove it when they did, although it created a certain crisis of confidence for a short time in the yards. But the yards are now busy again and the fishing industry as a whole is doing extremely well.

The hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes) spoke of doubts and fears about the future. This is always possible, and doubts and fears are often more prevalent when something is going well than when it is going badly. The hon. Member ought to remember, however, that the present Government are spending a great deal more money in developing the fishing harbour at Aberdeen than the Labour Government ever thought of doing and that the present Government's support for the fishing ports, in Scotland at any rate, is extremely generous.

Having said that, it is a little difficult for my hon. Friends who speak for the industry to cheer enthusiastically when Government support for it is withdrawn. That is one of the worst aspects of wholesale Government support. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. James Johnson) complained that orders such as these were always badly received under the Labour Government. But the truth is that they always did the wrong thing at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons.

In this case, I am extremely pleased that from now on the orders are to be administered from Edinburgh. This is a very great step forward for our industry.