§ 66. Mr. Grimond
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has any further statement to make on sheep losses during the recent storms in the north of Scotland; and if he will institute some immediate scheme for assistance over fodder and losses.
§ Mr. J. Stuart
It is still too soon to make any final assessment of sheep losses in the north of Scotland, but early reports based on a large and well spread sample indicate that actual percentages lost are small. I realise of course, that some farmers, and particularly some small farmers, may have experienced disproportionately heavy losses. Where early replacement is practicable, it is open to farmers in this position to apply to the Department of Agriculture for Scotland for loans under the Livestock Replacement Scheme. The general position is being further examined.
§ Mr. Grimond
Whilst agreeing with the Secretary of State that final information is not yet to hand, may I ask if he is aware that my information is that in some parts of Shetland losses are heavy? Will he consider taking urgent action to save sheep which are still alive? He could, 155 for instance, issue coupons for food or give grants to farmers, as there is great need of assistance with fodder.
§ Mr. Stuart
I can assure the hon. Member that throughout it has been our desire to save all the sheep we could, and certainly those which are still alive. I have always feared, and am most afraid, that the serious damage will be to the number of lambs that are thrown.