§ Lord Stanley of Alderley
asked Her Majesty's Government:
When they expect to put into effect the changes to the Fishing Vessels Grants Scheme which they announced on 20th December.
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Trumpington)
Following the Minister's announcement last December that the present vessel grant scheme served to distort rather than encourage sensible investment by vessel owners, we are proceeding to restrict the availability of these grants. A draft order under the Fisheries Act 1981 will be laid before Parliament shortly with a view to it coming into force at the beginning of April. The order will amend the present scheme (The Fishing Vessels (Acquisition and Improvement) (Grants) Scheme 1987) by providing aid only to essential safety improvements and to those cases where it is needed to provide back-up for EC grant aid.
The rates of grant for essential improvements will continue to be 30 per cent. (10 per cent, for vessels greater than 33 metres in length). The rate of back-up grant will be 10 per cent, regardless of vessel size.
These measures form part of our process of rationalisation of fleet capacity.