HC Deb 06 April 1939 vol 345 cc2983-5
59. Mr. Snadden

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware of the unsatisfactory and unhealthy conditions in regard to water supplies existing in the Frew area of Perthshire, where water is drawn from the River Forth; that certain farmers in this area have either been refused or are liable to have with-drawn certificates of registration under the Milk and Dairies (Scotland) Act, 1914, solely because of the unsatisfactory water supplies; and whether he is prepared to make any special grant or concession to enable the local authority or other appropriate body to institute and maintain a water supply in accordance with modern health and hygiene standards and suitable for the conduct of dairy fanning?

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Wedderburn)

I am aware that on account of the unsatisfactory water supply, two proposals to begin dairy farming in the Frew area may have to be abandoned. While there is no statutory duty on the county council to provide a supply of water for agricultural purposes, they have had the general needs of this area under consideration but have not yet been able to find a satisfactory source of supply. A grant offered in 1934 is still available if suitable arrangements can be made by the council.

Mr. Snadden

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in this area the question of the water supply has been under consideration for five or six years but that nothing has been done about it; and will he make special inquiries into the matter?

Mr. Wedderburn

The county council did submit a water supply scheme in 1934 providing for the purchase of water from Stirling Burgh and the laying of the necessary pipes. The Department offered a grant of £3,600 towards the cost of laying the pipes and the purchase of the water.

62. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has any statement to make upon his reply to the appeal addressed to him on 7th March by a sub-committee of the County Councils Association with regard to the urgent need of improved water and drainage supplies in rural areas of Scotland, and the necessity for Exchequer assistance to make such improvements possible?

Mr. Wedderburn

Scottish county councils are at present making a survey of their water supply and drainage requirements. As my right hon. Friend indicated to the representatives of their association whom he met on 7th March, he hopes that they will carry on with the surveys, of which only nine had then been completed, so that there may be available a complete picture of the requirements in each area.

Mr. Mathers

Are the county councils being given any assistance to carry through these surveys, as there is bound to be a certain amount of expense involved?

Mr. Wedderburn

I do not think we are giving them any financial assistance.

Mr. Leonard

Is it not the case that questions have already been directed to the Department and have displayed an adequate picture of the need in this matter?

Mr. Wedderburn

There are a great many things that we want to find out — the needs and the practicability of getting them supplied, the cost and the rateable value of each area.

Mr. Mathers

In view of the answer given to me, is it not possible for the Department to consider the making of grants in order to aid something which is so desirable?

Mr. Wedderburn

I do not think we have any funds which would be available for that purpose.