HC Deb 05 July 1909 vol 7 cc797-8

asked the Lord Advocate, having regard to the fact that on 27th April last it was stated by the Scottish Office that out of 55,376 acres of land dealt with by the Congested Districts Board for the creation of new holdings, as many as 4i,963 acres were assigned for new holdings in Inverness-shire, whereas Ross-shire secured only 239 acres for a like purpose, and seeing that the county of Boss contains some of the most congested districts in the crofting area, will the Board endeavour to arrange their land schemes on a more equitable basis in future?


further asked whether the right hon. Gentleman's attention has been called to the fact that although the Congested Districts Board have dealt with 25,529 acres of land for the enlargement of crofters' holdings in the Highland crofting counties, the greater part of that land, viz., 17,339 acres, falls to Inverness-shire, whereas the crofters in the other five crofting counties secured only 8,190 acres; and, seeing that this disparity in the administration of the funds of the Board causes discontent in districts which are quite as congested, or even more so, than any part of Inverness-shire, will the Board consider the claims of the crofters in Ross-shire?


The facts are not in dispute, but the assumption on which the questions seem to proceed is that the Congested Districts Board are free to select land where and as they please. Of course, this is not the case; the Board can only deal with land which is placed at their disposal by those who own it, and their operations are limited accordingly. If less land has been made available in Ross-shire than elsewhere this is not due to any desire on the part of the Board to give a preference to other counties. They are anxious to consider the case of Ross-shire on the same footing as that of other counties, and to do their best within their statutory powers to meet all reasonable requirements.


In regard to the latter part of Question 37, would the Board endeavour to arrange the land scheme on a more equitable basis in the future?


That is impossible, because it was arranged on an equitable basis in the past.