HC Deb 21 May 1940 vol 361 cc10-1
15. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made since the beginning of the present war in making available to the crofters and landless in the Highlands for food production the 3,000,000 acres of arable and pasture land which, as pointed out in representations recently made to him on behalf of the crofters' unions, are at present under deer or grouse?

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

Instructions and guidance have been given to agricultural executive committees in the Highland counties with a view to securing the full utilisation of the grazing capacity of deer forests and grouse moors. Reports indicate that the committees have been active in their efforts in this direction, and that good progress is being made. It appears that the demand from crofters for facilities of this kind is not very great at the present time, but steps have already been taken in certain cases to enable townships of crofters to obtain additional grazing on sporting lands.

Mr. Woodburn

Does that mean that the Government will give every encouragement to crofters willing to cultivate land, and that no obstacles will be placed in the way of their obtaining land in the Highlands?

Mr. Westwood

My hon. Friend may rest assured that we shall give every encouragement to the use of land for the one purpose we have in view—victory in this war.

Mr. Mathers

Is the Minister satisfied that the crofters' unions are adequately represented on these county committees?

Mr. Westwood

That is a question of which I should require notice.

Mr. Neil Maclean

Is it the intention to bring the smallholders into this scheme, particularly those ex-service men who have been refused smallholdings in the Highlands for the past 10 years?