HC Deb 02 November 1916 vol 86 cc1830-1

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he is aware that on the Breadalbane estates of Auchalladder, Bendorran, and Glenfalloch, clearances of sheep have recently taken place, and that in one instance some 10,000 sheep were cleared and that the sheep are to be replaced by deer; and, in view of the importance of this question of food supplies, whether he proposes taking any action?

The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. Tennant)

I understand that any reductions in sheep stock that have taken place have been due to a failure, after repeated efforts, to let the farms or grazings concerned. The farm of Auchalladder has been relet at a much reduced rental to a new tenant, who purchased and replaced on the farm a considerable portion of the stock. The former tenant of Auchalladder also held the grazing on Bendorran, which is part of an existing deer forest, under a special arrangement which came to an end with his tenancy. Glenfalloch is falling out of lease at Martinmas. So far as I am aware no tenant has been found, and the sheep have been sold off. I believe the owner is as anxious as my hon. Friend that new tenants should be found for his unlet grazings.

I have since received the following telegram: Breadalbane factor now writes that Glenfalloch has been cleared of sheep by proprietor after extensively advertising farm, as no tenant could be found. Proprietor has no intention of converting ground into deer forest. Regarding Auchalladder, there never was question of clearing it for deer, and it has been now let to the tenant as sheep farm.


Could any farm tenants be found if the rents were reduced?


My hon. Friend will realise that these rents have been enormously reduced. In the case in point I believe Lord Breadalbane has been forced to accept something like £200 where previously he got £380.


Rather than the country should lose the food, would it not be better to charge a merely nominal rent for this land?


I quite agree, and I have no doubt the owners of some of these grazing farms would be delighted to do so. The difficulty is that sheep are so expensive nowadays that no one could afford to embark upon a new tenancy.


That is really the point. If they got the land for nothing, they could not afford it.