HC Deb 28 January 1947 vol 432 cc752-3
30. Mr. Snadden

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware of the inconvenience and hardship caused to hill farmers in Scotland by reason of the inadequate notice of the final date of application for forms establishing a claim to the hill cattle subsidy; what representations he has received on this subject; and what steps he proposes to take to ensure that hill farmers likely to qualify for the subsidy are properly and individually informed of the final date for application.

Mr. Westwood

Apart from the representations I have received from the very small percentage of people who were too late in asking for forms or submitting applications, I have received no complaint that the method of notice, through the agricultural executive committees, the Scottish National Farmers' Union, and Press and the wireless, has been inadequate in past hill cattle subsidy schemes. As regards further schemes, I shall keep in view the hon. Member's suggestion about individual notification, although there would clearly be disadvantages in substituting such an arrangement for the present practice.

Mr. Snadden

Is it not a fact that the only intimation is by means of a broadcast or a notice in the Press, and would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is unfortunate if, because an applicant does not read the paper on the particular day on which the notice appears or does not hear the broadcast, he does not qualify? Will the right hon. Gentleman send out a form to all people who have previously qualified?

Mr. Westwood

Even if I sent out a form to all those who had previously qualified, they might not be in a position to qualify under the new scheme. I have already pointed out that I am ready to consider the suggestion made by the hon. Gentleman, but I have pointed out some of the difficulties that stand in the way of giving effect to his suggestion.

Major McCallum

Would the right hon. Gentleman also consider a system of sending automatically to those who have qualified, a form on which to claim payment? There is a great delay in supplying this other form. If the second form could be sent to those who become eligible it would save a lot of misunderstanding.

Mr. Westwood

I shall certainly keep in view the point raised by the hon. and gallant Gentleman.