HC Deb 09 March 1915 vol 70 cc1258-9

asked the Secretary for Scotland if he is aware that the potato crop in Harris was a failure last year; that the people in the townships of Geacrob and Lickisto have applied to the Board of Agriculture for a supply of seed which they will pay for at Martinmas; and that the Board of Agriculture has declined to supply the seed and has referred the people to the Scottish Agriculture Co-operative Society; whether he is aware that this work has hitherto been done by the Congested Districts Board and that the duties of that Board have been handed over to the Board of Agriculture; and if, under these circumstances, he will ask the Board of Agriculture to reconsider its decision?


I understand that the potato crop was poor in Harris last year and that the position with regard to measures of relief is as stated by my hon. Friend. The Board of Agriculture did follow the method of the Congested Districts Board in the spring of 1913, but thereafter arranged with the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society to undertake the duty of supplying seed oats and potatoes to crofters at market prices, and made an advance of working capital for this purpose. The Board do not propose to depart from this arrangement, which was intended to meet the results of poor crops such as that of 1914.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a sum of over £70,000 allotted to the Congested Districts Board was taken over by the Board of Agriculture and a sum of £25,000 per year earmarked for the congested areas, and that the Board of Agriculture has spent little or nothing during its existence in those areas?


A much larger sum than that referred to by the hon. Baronet has been spent in the congested areas beyond any manner of doubt.