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Column 1234months. I shall not waste the time of the House by pointing out what should be obvious to the hon. Gentleman and is certainly obvious to the fishing industry.
A number of hon. Members asked me for my views and the Government's views on the decommissioning scheme. I remind the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Wallace) that he asked me the same question on 15 November during Question Time. Then, I referred to the severe criticism of a decommissioning scheme that was in effect in this country some years ago and the report on that of the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee.
In paragraph 6 of its report the Public Accounts Committee concluded :
"We consider that decommissioning grants, licences and construction grants represented a series of interventions that conflicted with and distracted from market forces with unintended and unfortunate consequences."
We also know that, due to the various Community financial arrangements on United Kingdom distributions, the costs of such a scheme when we had one meant that of the total cost of £17.5 million, the United Kingdom provided £15 million, despite the nominal 50 per cent. contribution by the Community. Those are serious and damaging criticisms which we must take into account.
We must also ask to what extent the decommissioning scheme would address the serious problems facing the fishing industry. It would channel money to some fishermen who wanted to get out of the industry and would be attractive to those individuals. However, would it reduce the amount of fishing effort? In its 1987 report, the National Audit Office questioned whether the removal of vessels under the earlier scheme did anything to relieve the difficulties of the fishing quotas that were most under pressure. It would be difficult to target a scheme properly, as it is difficult in such circumstances for the Government to intervene effectively and precisely in an industry with so many active participants.
Mr. Wallace rose --
There are strong arguments against a new decommissioning scheme. Mr. Wallace rose
Mr. Rifkind : I am sorry. I have only a couple of minutes. I shall comment briefly on the conservation points that have been made. I am grateful to the hon. Gentlemen who spoke strongly in favour of more effective conservation measures. The House is aware that the industry has moved in a constructive way towards recognising the need for conservation measures and, earlier this year, the Scottish Fishermen's Federation put forward important proposals designed to improve the conservation of stocks. They have three ingredients--the prohibition of attachments to fishing gear which have the effect of constricting meshes and thus retaining juvenile fish in the net, the banning of the carriage of nets of more than one mesh size on any one fishing trip and greater emphasis on enforcement, and the prohibition of the carriage of potentially illegal gear. I was asked about a likely time scale for the implementation of new conservation measures. The consultation period in our proposals ends very soon and
Column 1235we will be able to put the proposals to the Commission early in the new year. The pace of progress will then be in the hands of the Commission. We shall press the Commission hard for quick action. It is crucial that in putting forward these proposals we can point to the support that the industry has given to the need for enhanced conservation measures, and that enhances the prospect for early progress in that direction.
I endorse the comment by the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald) that we must take into account the interests of the industry in all parts of the country, including Scotland. That is crucial.
The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) said that he was looking for determination by the Government at the negotiations in Brussels. I assure him that such determination will be forthcoming. In putting forward our case not only to the Commission but to other Community countries, we will be strengthened by the strong support given by all hon. Members who pointed to the inadequacies in the current proposals and who emphasised the serious consequences for the British fishing industry if major improvements are not made. The House and the fishing industry can assume that we stand four square behind the need to give a fair deal to our industry. We intend to do that.
It being three hours after commencement of proceedings on the motion, --Mr. Deputy Speaker proceeded, pursuant to Order [8 December], to put the Questions necessary to dispose of them. Question put, That the amendment be made :--
The House divided : Ayes 39, Noes 119.
Division No. 20] [8.30 pm
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) McFall, John
Battle, John McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Beith, A.J. Maclennan, Robert
Campbell, Menzies (Fife, N.E.) Mahon, Mrs. Alice
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Mitchell,Austin (G't Grimsby)
Clark, Dr. David (S Shields) Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Clwyd, Mrs. Ann Morley, Elliot
Cook, Frank (Stockton, N) Quin, Ms Joyce
Dewar, Donald Robertson, George
Dixon, Don Rooker, Jeff
Doran, Frank Salmond, Alex
Ewing, Mrs. Margaret (Moray) Skinner, Dennis
Golding, Mrs Llin Spearing, Nigel
Gordon, Mildred Taylor, Rt Hon J.D. (S'ford)
Griffiths, Win (Brigend) Wareing, Robert N.
Hayes, Frank Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Henderson, Doug Wilson, Brian
Home Robertson, John
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Tellers for the Ayes:
Johnson, Sir Russel Mr. James Wallace and
Kennedy, Charles Mr. Malcolm Bruce.
Macdonald, Calum A.
Alexander,Richard Bright, Graham
Amess, David Brown,Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)
Amos, Alan Buck, Sir Antony
Arbuthnot, James Burns, Simon
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Burt, Alistair
Atkinson, David Butler, Chris
Baker,, Nicholas (Dorset N) Butterfill, John
Bendall, Vivian Carlisle, John, (Luton N)
Bennet, Nicholas (Pembroke) Carttiss, Michael
Boscawen, Hon Robert Chapman, Sydney
Boswell, Tim Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Bowis, John Cormack, Patrick
Couchman, James Mitchell, Andrew (Geding)
Cran, James Moate, Roger
Currie, Mrs Edwina Monro, Sir Hector
Davis, David (Boothferry) Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Day, Stephen Neale, Gerrard
Dover, Den Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Durant, Tony Norris, Steve
Emery, Sir Peter Page, Richard
Fallon, Michael Paice, James
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Porter, David (Waveney)
Fishburn, John Dudley Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Fookes, Dame Janet Redwood, John
Forth, Eric Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Freeman, Roger Rhodes James, Robert
French, Douglas Riddick, Graham
Gale, Roger Ridley, Rt. Hon Nicholas
Gardiner, George Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Garel-Jones, Tristan Sackville, Hon Tom
Goodland, Alastair Shaw, David (Dover)
Gow, Ian Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Shelton. Sir William
Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn Sheperd, Colin (Hereford)
Hague, William Sims, Roger
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Hannam, John Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Harris, David Stern, Michael
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney Stevens, Lewis
Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE) Stewart, Allan (Eastward)
Howarth, G (Cannock and Bw'd) Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Hughes, Robert G (Harrow W) Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Hunter, Andrew Sumberg, David
Irvine, Michael Summerson, Hugo
Jack, Michael Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Jessel, Toby Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N) Knowles, Michael Thorne, Neil
Lawrence,Ivan Walden, George
Lightbown, David Watts, John
Lord, Michael Wells, Bowen
Lyell, Sir Nicholas Widdecombe, Ann
Maclean, David Wiggin, Jerry
McNiar-Wilson, Sir Michael Wiltshire, David
Mans, Kieth Wood, Timothy
Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Maude, Hon Francis Tellers for the Noes
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Mr. Irvine Patnick and
Miller, Sir Hal Mr. John M Taylor.
Question accordingly negatived.
Main Question put :--
The House divided : Ayes 111, Noes 2.
Division No. 21] [8.45 pm
Alexander, Richard Cran, James
Amess, David Currie, Mrs. Edwina
Amos, Alan Davis, David (Boothferry)
Arbuthnot, James Day, Stephen
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Dover, Den
Atkinson, David Durant, Tony
BAker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Evennett, David
Bendall, Vivian Fallon, Michael
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Bevan, David Gilroy Fishburn, John Dudley
Boswell, Tim Fookes, Dame Janet
Bowis, John Forsyth, Michael (Sterling)
Bright, Graham Forth, Eric
Brown, Michael (Brigg and Cl't's) Freeman, Roger
Buck, Sir Antony French, Douglas
Burns, Simon Gale, Roger
Burt, Alistair Gardiner, George
Carlisle, John (Luton N) Garel-Jones, Tristan
Carlisle,Kenneth (Lincoln) Goodlad, Alastair
Chapman, Sidney Gow, Ian
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn
Couchman, James Hague, William
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Rhodes James, Robert
Harris, David Riddick, Graham
Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney Ridley, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Sackville, Hon Ton
Hunter, Andrew Shaw, David (Dover)
Irvine, Michael Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Jack, Michael Shelton, Sir William
Jessel, Toby Shepherd, Colin (Herefod)
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Sims, Roger
Knowles, Michael Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lawrence, Ivan Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Lightbown, David Stern, Michael
Lord, Michael Stevens, Lewis
Lyell, Sir Nicholas Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Maclean, David Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
McNair-Wilson, Sir Michael Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Mans, Keith Sumberg, David
Marshall, John (Hendon S) Summerson, Hugo
Muade, Hon Francis Taylor, Ian (Escher)
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Miller, Sir Hal Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Mills, Iain Thorn, Neil
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Walden, George
Moate, Roger Watts, John
Monro, Sir Hector Wells, Bowen
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Widdecombe, Ann
Neale, Gerrard Wiggin, Jerry
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Wilshire, David
Norris, Steve Wood, Timothy
Paice, James Tellers for the Ayes:
Porter, David (Waveney) Mr. John M taylor and
Redwood, John Mr. Irvine Patnick.
Salmond, Alex Tellers for the Noes:
Skinner, Dennis Mr. Andrew Welsh and
Mrs. Margaret Ewing.
Question accordingly agreed to.
That this House takes note of the proposals described in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food's un-numbered Explanatory Memorandum of 12th December 1989 and Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum of 13th December 1989 on Total Allowable Catches and Quotas for 1990, its un- numbered Explanatory Memorandum of 13th December 1989 on the Reciprocal Fisheries Agreement between the Community and Norway for 1990, European Community Document No. 9888/89 on fishery guide prices, and of the Government's intention to negotiate the best possible fishing opportunities for the United Kingdom fishing industry for 1990 consistent with the requirement for conservation of the fishing stock.