asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when Fisheries Ministers have decided on new schemes for providing financial assistance to the fishing industry; and if he will make a statement.
Following consultation with representatives of the fishing industry, my right hon. Friends and I are proceeding with the preparation of national schemes to implement the main provisions of EC regulation 4028/86 which was agreed by the Council of Fisheries Ministers at the end of last year. Orders under the Fisheries Act 1981 will be laid before Parliament shortly with a view to them coming into operation at the beginning of June. The orders will continue schemes for grants to assist vessel construction and modernisation, and the development of aquaculture, and to provide a limited measure of support for exploratory voyages and joint ventures. We do not, however, propose to continue with schemes for the decommissioning or laying-up of vessels, our view being that the limited financial resources available should at this stage be directed towards the modernisation of the fleet. With this in mind, priority under the new scheme will be given to vessels replacing those lost, urgent modernisation, and the replacement of vessels over 15 years of age.Rates of grant available to vessels of less than 33m will generally be at the maximum rate of 30 per cent. permitted by the Council regulation, subject to the maximum grant payable in respect of any vessel being £250,000. However, in the case of applications for vessels over 24m from Northern Ireland and the west of Scotland, which also receive a grant from EC funds, the national grant will be abated so that the combined rate of grant received by such vessels in those areas exceeds that elsewhere by no more than 5 per cent. This will help to ensure that the financial advantage provided for in the Council regulation is principally for the benefit of local vessels. Rates of grant for larger vessels, greater than 33m in length, will be generally 10 per cent., subject again to a maximum of £250,000 for any one vessel. The detailed rates of grant for vessels up to 33m are set out in the annex.These measures will continue the process of the adaptation of the fleet to future fishing opportunities and will concentrate grant aid where it is most needed.
|Proposed rates of grant in the West of Scotland, Northern Ireland and other regions (per cent.)|
|Community Aid||National Aid||Potential Combined Aid|
|Vessels under 24 metres|
|West of Scotland and Northern Ireland||35||30||65|
|Vessels 24 metres and over up to 33 metres|
|West of Scotland and Northern Ireland||35||120/30||55|
|130 per cent, if no Community aid.|
Note — The total amount of grant under the national scheme, payable in respect of a vessel under the same ownership, will be limited to £250,000.