§ MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)
I beg to ask the Lord-Advocate whether he is aware that the Highlands and Islands Commission, reporting in 1895, recommended that no less than 1,782,785 acres within the crofting counties of Scotland should be scheduled for new holdings, for the extension of existing holdings, and for moderately sized farms, and that a very large proportion of this acreage was then included within deer forests; whether he is aware that between 1898 and 1904, fifty-two wholly new deer forests have been formed, extending to 424,957 acres, while only 15,485 acres appear to have been taken from deer forests for other purposes; whether he can state what is the total number of acres provided for new holdings, or extension of holdings, or moderately sized farms by the Crofters Commission since 1895, and what number of acres so provided were taken out of deer forests; and whether he will consider the advisability of legislation next year to check the extension of deer forests, and to give effect to the recommendations of the Highlands and Islands Commission.
THE LORD-ADVOCATE (Mr. SCOTT DICKSON,) Glasgow, Bridgton
The figures in the first two paragraphs of the Question appear to be correct. I am informed that between January 1st, 1896, and December 31st, 1904, the Crofters Commission have assigned 411 acres of arable land and 12,006 acres of pasture land in enlargement of existing crofters' holdings. Of this amount 907 acres were taken from a deer forest. I may inform the hon. Member that the Crofters Com- 954 mission have no power to form new crofters' holdings or moderately sized farms.