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Fishing Industry, Hull

Volume 980: debated on Monday 3 March 1980

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I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,

"the rapidly deteriorating position of the Hull fish docks and the probability that at the end of this week facilities will no longer be available in Hull, once the major fishing port of Europe, to discharge fishing vessels."
It is barely a fortnight since the House discussed the fishing industry. Since then the port of Hull has rapidly deteriorated. The matter is therefore specific in that it relates to the port of Hull. It relates to the fishing industry in Hull and to industry dependent on it. That the issue is important is self-evident. Hull suffers from increasing unemployment. It has suffered a great number of economic blows. The issue is urgent because the vessel owners are going into liquidation. A new company is being formed to take over part of their responsibilities. However, no provision has been made for the employment of men to discharge vessels, or for the retention of equipment that is capable of discharging vessels. When the company goes into liquidation on Friday, and when assets are apportioned, they will have only a scrap value and not a material value. Thus, for Hull, nearly a century of history as a leading fishing port in Britain will come to an end.

Efforts have been made to contact the British Transport Docks Board—the major creditor—and the Department. I am glad that the Parliamentary Secretary is here, as I understand that his other colleagues are in Brussels. The people of Hull regard the deterioration of the docks as a major blow to their economy and to the general spirit of the town. It is an urgent and specific matter and it deserves the attention of the House and of the nation. Notice should be taken of what is happening to a proud, brave and resourceful industry.

The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, Central (Mr. McNamara) gave me notice before noon that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely:

"the rapidly deteriorating position of the Hull fish docks and the probability that at the end of this week facilities will no longer be available in Hull, once the major fishing port of Europe, to discharge fishing vessels."
The hon. Gentleman knows that I do not decide whether this issue is to be discussed. I merely decide whether it should be debated tonight, or tomorrow night. He has undoubtedly raised a very important matter. As the House knows, under Standing Order No. 9 I am directed to take account of the several factors set out in the order, but to give no reason for my decision. I listened with care to the hon. Gentleman, but I have to rule that his submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.

Business Of The House

Ordered,

That, at this day's sitting, Standing Order No. 4 (Prayers against statutory instruments, &c, (negative procedure)) shall apply to the Motion relating to the Road Traffic Accidents (Payments for Treatment) (England and Wales) Order 1980 with the substitution of half-past Eleven o'clock or one and a half hours after it has been entered upon, whichever is the later, for the provisions in paragraph (1) of the Standing Order.—[Mr. Waddington.]