Shetlands (MV Braer Incident)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:25 pm on 11th January 1993.

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Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace , Orkney and Shetland 4:25 pm, 11th January 1993

I preface my remarks by apologising to the House for not being here earlier. Perhaps I should explain that the weather conditions were atrocious and that I got here as early as I could.

I thank the Secretary of State for Transport for his statement, but I should like to address my remarks to the statement made by the Secretary of State for Scotland. I understand that he has announced a bridging fund, which seems to be along the lines of that which we discussed on Saturday. Obviously, if he is able to provide any further detail on that fund today that would be welcome. He will be aware of the immediate need faced by a number of salmon farmers who would have undertaken a scheduled harvesting of their salmon this week. Substantial cashflow problems could arise. If the fund is not sufficient to meet those needs, will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider it so that the response from Government is adequate to ensure people's livelihoods?

Will the right hon. Gentleman also confirm to the House that the response that he saw on Saturday from the farmers and particularly from the seafood industries, which were ahead of the Government in announcing a voluntary ban, shows their determination to ensure that Shetland will maintain its reputation for the high quality of the produce that it puts on the market? That will be extremely important in the long term.