§ DR. MACGREGOR (Invernessshire)
I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland, considering that 10 years ago a Royal Commission recommended that no further increase in deer afforestment should take place in the Highlands of Scotland, and that notwithstanding this about 1,000,000 acres have since that period been so appropriated, what course does the Government propose to take to put a stop to the depopulation of the Highland glens?
§ THE SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND (Sir G. TREVELYAN,) Glasgow, Bridgeton
There is no doubt that land has been converted into deer forest largely since 1883; but the Government Return issued two years ago gives the new forests since that date as 300,000 acres at the most, and it can hardly be that 700,000 acres more have been afforested in the two years which have succeeded. Still, the process is going on, and more than half the area of Ross and more than a third the area of Inverness are in deer forest. In consequence largely of the recommendation of the Royal Commission, to which the hon. Member refers, the Government have appointed the Royal Commission to inquire into land in the Highlands available for crofters — an inquiry which must precede legislation. The season now permits that Commission to begin its work, and it will commence its inspection on the 18th of this month.
§ DR. MACGREGOR
May I, in view of the serious and important character of this question, ask the Secretary for Scotland whether he does not think a Doer Forest Suspensory Bill would be much more beneficial to the Scotch people than a Church Suspensory Bill, and whether the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to substitute the one for the other this Session?
§ [No answer was given.]