HC Deb 01 April 1887 vol 313 cc230-1
DR. CLARK (Caithness)

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the Government intend to introduce, or give facilities for, a measure to amend Section 6 of the Crofters Act, 1886, to enable the Crofters Commission to protect crofters from being sued for nonpayment of arrears of rent and made bankrupts, and consequently being removed from their holdings pending the hearing of their applications under that Act; whether the Crofters Commission have sat for six months, and during that time have only determined about 60 applications to have fair rents fixed; and, whether there are several thousand such applications still pending?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

In reply to the first part of the hon. Member's Question, I must refer him to the answer given on the 21st of February last by the then Secretary for Scotland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) to a similar Question—namely— That, while anxious to facilitate the fixing of a fair rent, he was not, as at present ad- vised, prepared to re-open the question by fresh legislation. The Government still adhere to the above decision. With regard to the second part of the Question, the Crofters Commission has been sitting since the 13th of October last, and has disposed of many more than 60 applications to fix fair rents. I must also refer the hon. Member to the Lord Advocate's answer to a Question addressed to him by the hon. Member himself so lately as the 22nd of last month, which was to the effect that to state the number of applications to fix a fair rent which had been determined would be misleading at the present time, as a very large number of cases were far advanced, although not actually decided, and that the decisions were in many cases delayed at the request of the parties themselves. A large number of applications to fix fair rents are still pending; but the Commissioners are making rapid progress.