HC Deb 12 April 1883 vol 278 c56

asked the Lord Advocate, Whether he can give any further information to the House as to the destitution in the Western Highlands, and as to the adequacy of the means at present available for its relief?


Sir, the Reports of the General Inspectors of the Board of Supervision have now been received, and I regret to say that they disclose a great amount of suffering among the population of the Hebrides, owing to the failure of the potato and grain crops and a bad fishing season. In most places the destitution does not amount to actual want of food, and there has not been any unusual pressure on the parochial rates; but the people have no means of providing themselves with seed potatoes or corn, so that, if no assistance were given to them, there would be a prospect of a famine next year. I am glad to say that, in most districts, the proprietors are supplying the people with the seed potatoes required. In one district, however, the Island of Lewis, the condition of the population is so bad that there would be actual want, but for the operations of a Relief Committee, and the Inspector reports that unless the funds at their disposal, now almost exhausted, are immediately and largely supplemented, much suffering must ensue. We propose to print these Reports for the information of Parliament.