HC Deb 25 January 1955 vol 536 cc10-1
17. Captain Duncan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the numbers of livestock of all kinds in Scotland as disclosed by the December returns; and how these figures compare with previous years.

Mr. J. Stuart

As the reply contains a number of figures, I shall, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Captain Duncan

Does the reply show a large reduction in the number of sheep? If it does, can my right hon. Friend explain the reason?

Mr. Stuart

It does show a decrease, compared with 1953, of about 300,000 in the number of sheep, but these figures are liable to error as they are not yet complete. They are based on a sample.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Does the reply indicate the very grave losses which were sustained as a result of the recent heavy snowstorms?

Mr. Stuart

The Question deals with last year.

Captain Duncan

May I ask my right hon Friend whether the large decrease in the number of sheep may be due to the earlier killing off of lambs, and that there is not a big reduction in the number of breeding sheep?

Mr. Stuart

It may be so, but I am glad to say that there has been a considerable increase in the number of cattle, pigs and fowls, so we are getting something.

Following is the reply: The following are the numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs and fowls in Scotland, as disclosed by the provisional results of the December census, with comparable final figures as at December, 1953, and December, 1939:
December, 1954* December, 1953 December, 1939
Cattle 1,625 1,598 1,307
Sheep 5,313 5,619 5,904
Pigs 577 522 287
Fowls 6,372 6,585 5,315
* The December, 1954, figures are based on a 50 per cent, sample of returns and are, therefore, subject to a margin of error.