HC Deb 17 March 1890 vol 342 cc988-9

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that the crofers on the South Uist estates are by their contracts compelled to sell all their kelp to the proprietrix; and whether such contract is by the Law of Scotland obligatory on the people; and, if so, whether he will introduce a measure providing absolute freedom of sale of the products of sea and land?


There is, I am informed, no such contract between the crofters on South Uist and the proprietrix, as is referred to in the question. The proprietrix follows the practice of previous proprietors by employing crofters to gather the weed which is made into kelp. Formerly this was a source of profit to the landlord, but in 1879 the price fell so low that the manufacture was discontinued. The want of this outlet for remunerative labour was so much felt by the crofters that a few years after 1879 the manufacture was resumed, and the whole proceeds, under some small deductions for necessary expenses, have been expended in remunerating the crofters for their labour.