HC Deb 18 March 1941 vol 370 c10
22. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make an inquiry into the circumstances under which much of the land of Scotland has passed into the hands of the present owners, with a view to action to bring it into the fullest measure of cultivation?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. T. Johnston)

I am not quite clear as to how an inquiry into titles to land ownership would have any bearing upon the bringing into better cultivation of the soil. Agricultural Executive Committees already have the power to require owners and occupiers to carry out cultivation or other measures necessary to secure, in accordance with Government directions, the proper utilisation of the land in war time irrespective of by whom, or the method by which, it was acquired.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Minister prepared to consider an investigation made by Mr. Thomas Johnston, who declared that this land was acquired by graft, rapine and murder, and is it not desirable that this land should be taken back out of the hands of those who have got it by such means? If the Minister would like to look at the investigation, I will give him a copy of the report.

Mr. Johnston

The answer to the first part of the Supplementary Question is in the affirmative. The second part of the Supplementary Question does not arise.

Mr. Stokes

Would it not meet the desire of the hon. Member if the Secretary of State for Scotland made arrangements to collect an economic rent?