HC Deb 27 July 1908 vol 193 cc824-5
SIR J. DEWAR (Inverness)

To ask the Secretary for Scotland if an arrangement has been arrived at with Lady Gordon Cathcart in regard to the Island of Vatersay; and if he can state its terms.

(Answered by Mr. Sinclair.) The Government have made additional proposals, on the lines generally of the procedure laid down in the Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill, which safeguard the proprietor from possible loss. These proposals, which have been accepted by Lady Cathcart, provide for compensation to the tenant for surrender of his lease and to the proprietor for loss directly attributable to the occupation of the farm by small holders. The Government will now proceed forthwith to ascertain definitely how far the farm of Vatersay may properly be occupied by small tenants, to prepare a scheme of settlement under the crofter tenure, and to carry it into effect with the co-operation of Lady Cathcart, who remains proprietor of the farm. This arrangement, I am glad to say, made it possible for the proprietor to apply to the Court of Session upon Saturday, the 18th instant, with the happy result that, by the order of that Court, the men who were committed to prison for contempt of Court were then liberated. I trust that those in whose immediate interest this scheme of settlement has been devised and agreed upon, especially those who are in occupation of parts of the farm, without whose active support the whole arrangement will fall to the ground, will now co-operate with the proprietor and the Government in facing and adjusting the difficulties of the situation, and will join in the endeavour to make the scheme a practical success.