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months. 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 --

Mr. Rifkind : I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I continue because I have only a couple of minutes left.

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

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we 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

Page, Richard

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.

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