§ MR. JOHN DEWAR (Inverness)
To ask the Lord-Advocate if his attention has been drawn to a decision of the Crofter Commission, in an application by eighteen crofters in Benbecula for an extension of holding on the farm of Nunton, when the Commissioners rejected the application on the ground that only eighteen crofters had joined in the application; and whether, having regard to the terms of the Crofter Act, which provide that only five crofters are necessary to make a statutory application, will the Lord-Advocate ask the Commissioners to reconsider their decision.
(Answered by Mr. Scott Dickson.) I have inquired into the circumstances of the case referred to by the hon. Member. I am informed that the grounds on which the Crofters' Commission rejected the application for enlargement of holdings preferred by eighteen crofters in the Island of Benbecula were mainly as follows:—(1) That the eighteen applicants came from no fewer than six townships scattered all over Benbecula, and were resident in most cases three or four miles from, the land applied for and from one another. (2) That the applicants share with some 200 other crofters in the same common pasture. The grazings desired are adjacent to the† See (4) Debates cxli., 756.1117 common pasture, and if assigned as an enlargement of holdings should be added to that pasture. Assignment of the lands in question to eighteen out of 200 would, in the opinion of the Commissioners, have caused much injustice to the great majority of the crofters. (3) That the applicants failed to satisfy the Commissioners that they were in a position to provide for payment of the stock on the lands applied for. The Commissioners appear to have considered the application with great care and in all its bearings, and the Secretary for Scotland does not see his way to ask them to reconsider their decision.