asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the concern caused among ship-yards building fishing vessels and in the fishing industry by the further cut imposed by the Government upon timber for these yards; what is the estimated reduction in the output of fishing vessels as a result of this decision; what effect this will have upon the scheme for loans and grants for the building of boats for fishermen, and for how long a period is it intended that these sharp restrictions shall continue.
I am aware of the anxiety caused by the further reduction in supplies of timber for the building of fishing boats. Some delay in boat building is, unfortunately, bound to result and the scheme for grants and loans will be affected in consequence. But at this stage it is not possible to gauge the extent to which the output of boats will be delayed because that will depend on the duration of the restrictions. These will be removed as soon as there is sufficient improvement in the overall supply of timber. I am assured by the Admiralty, who are responsible for allocating timber for shipbuilding of all kinds, that they fully appreciate the importance of the fishing industry and that fishing craft will be among those which will have a preferential share of the reduced supply of timber.