HC Deb 21 April 1953 vol 514 cc786-7
11. Mr. John MacLeod

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what grants have been made through his Department, apart from the Hill Farming and Livestock Rearing Acts, towards aiding works of construction or improvement of roads in the seven crofter counties and in Ross and Cromarty in particular.

Mr. Snadden

Since the end of the war grants amounting to £569,382 have been offered by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland towards the construction or improvement of roads in the seven crofter counties. The amount relating to Ross and Cromarty is £127,483.

Mr. MacLeod

Does not my hon. Friend agree that this is a very niggardly sum and that there is a very strong case to be made in the national interest for the grants to be increased, particularly where township roads are concerned, so that the county council may take over those roads? If he agrees, can he say what action is being taken to secure increases?

Mr. Snadden

The grants to which I have referred are in answer to the Question. They are merely the grants paid by the Department of Agriculture in Scotland. There are other grants paid by the Ministry of Transport for trunk roads and classified roads. Grants to the tune of £30,000 have also been made for bridges in the crofter counties.

Mr. Woodburn

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us whether any applications by the Ross and Cromarty County Council for grants for roads have been turned down?

Mr. Snadden

I could not answer that question with accuracy without notice.

Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton

Does not my hon. Friend think that money could be saved if an aerial survey of the Highlands was carried out to show the easiest roads and access to the best grazing areas?

Mr. Snadden

I should not think that such a survey is necessary. We have information about the Highland areas within the Department of Agriculture, and it is very comprehensive.

Mr. Grimond

Will the hon. Gentleman agree that we are not providing the by-roads which are necessary to secure greater food production in the Highlands, and as resources of materials and men are available in many of the counties, will he look at the matter again and ensure that larger grants are provided?