MR. J. McLEOD (Sutherland)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury (1) whether he can state the reason for the large diminution in the Vote in next year's Estimates in connection with certain public works and for improved communications and other purposes within the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, the Vote last year amounting to £36,200, and this year to only £25,500; (2) whether he is aware that this decrease of £10,700 in the Vote will render absolutely nugatory the provisions of the Western Highlands and Islands Works Act, 1891, so far as any prospective works are concerned; (3) whether he is also aware that notwithstanding the decrease stated the administration charges are only decreased by £64; and (4) whether the Scottish Office have expressed themselves satisfied with the reduced amount of the Vote?
§ MR. HANBURY
The reason for the reduction in this Vote is the fact that the Vote is admittedly of an exceptional and temporary character. The full amount recommended by the Highlands and Islands Commission of 1890 has now been expended, and the time has therefore obviously arrived for a decrease, so far as it can be effected with due regard to works already in progress. The answer to paragraph 2 is No. Provision may be made for prospective works out of the amount, now accumulating, which 1316 was devoted to this purpose by the Agricultural Rates, Congested Districts, and Burgh Land Tax Relief (Scotland) Act of last Session. The answer to the third paragraph is Yes. The Scottish Office have accepted the reduced amount of the Vote, with the exception of the decreased grant for minor roads. They have asked for an increase of this, and it has been conditionally assented to.