§ Mr. Stanley
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to what extent the decision to ration oil fuel will affect the proposed conversion grant to owners of fishing vessels under the White Fish and Herring Industries Bill.
It is the Government's policy to encourage the conversion of suitable coal-burning vessels of the near and middle-water fleet to the use of oil fuel. But it is clearly undesirable that conversions which would come into effect in the next few months should be put in hand while measures to reduce oil consumption are being taken. For the time being therefore owners should not make contracts for conversion in the expectation of receiving approval for a grant under the Bill. The White Fish Authority and the Herring Industry Board are being asked not at present to approve applications for loans for this purpose under existing legislation.
Plans for conversions to be carried out when the situation becomes easier could nevertheless usefully be discussed now with the Authority or the Board. The date from which grants will become available and loans will again be offered will be decided later in the light of the situation as it develops.