HC Deb 29 April 1952 vol 499 cc1218-9
41. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware of the poor condition of the agricultural township roads in the west of North Uist Island, and that this is detrimental to the agricultural and general development of the Island; and what urgent measures of assistance he proposes to deal with the problem.

Mr. Snadden

Under existing legislation there are no powers under which assistance can be given towards the improvement of these roads unless the work forms part of an approved scheme under the Hill Farming Act, 1946, and Livestock Rearing Act, 1951.

Mr. MacMillan

Does not the Under-Secretary think it is high time that powers were taken by the Government in order to assist people who are doing their best under very difficult circumstances to boost agricultural production and make themselves independent of food from the mainland? Cannot he move the Government—I have tried this over many years with many Governments—to provide some special form of assistance to enable these people to improve the roads?

Mr. Snadden

Fresh legislation would be required for what the hon. Gentleman asks.

Mr. John MacLeod

Could not the Minister see that more was done under the Hill Farming Act?

Mr. Grimond

Would the Minister consider introducing legislation to meet this point which has widespread application throughout the whole of the Highland area?

Mr. David J. Pryde

Is it not perfectly obvious to the hon. Gentleman's Department that this applies not only to the Highlands but also to the Lowlands?

Mr. Snadden

It is available under two different sets of legislation at the present time.