asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further progress has been made in setting up the new statutory body to replace the White Fish Authority and the Herring Industry Board.
We will be seeking the views of the industry and we hope to start these consultations shortly.
I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that this body was expected to be set up in 1977 under the previous Government and that the WFA has stated that we shall be lucky if it is set up by the end of 1981? Will my hon. Friend say whether that is so?
The Government have been in office for less than a year and have already put forward proposals. Subject to the progress of consultation with the industry and to the legislative programme within the House, we shall carry through legislation as quickly as possible.
Will the hon. Gentleman accept that the previous Administration recognised the principle of combining the two bodies, but that psychologically it would have been wrong to eliminate the Herring Industry Board at a time when the industry was in decline? Will the hon. Gentleman further accept that he can expect our support in the pragmatic, practical approach required from the Government?
I welcome the hon. Gentleman's support and continuing interest. I am sure that he agrees that translation of principles into practice is a worthy objective.
Since the financial health of the White Fish Authority during its remaining years could substantially depend on the levy on trans-shipped fish, when is it hoped to have the necessary legislation through the House?
Subject to the procedures of the House, very shortly.