HC Deb 14 May 1957 vol 570 c193
10. Sir D. Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why the entire programme of road works for 1956 submitted by Sutherland County Council to the Scottish Department of Agriculture for grant aid under the Congested Districts (Scotland) Act, 1897, was rejected; to what extent the rejection was due to the Government's restrictions on capital expenditure; and whether, in view of the need and the improving financial situation, he will authorise the programme in the current financial year.

Lord John Hope

My right hon. Friend regrets that the need to limit capital expenditure made it impossible to authorise this programme in 1956–57: but his Department are ready to discuss with the county council the possibility of sanctioning in the current financial year any scheme which they regard as of special urgency.

Sir D. Robertson

Is it not the case that the county council, not only in Sutherland but also in Caithness, has put forward for two successive years a large number of schemes, as it has done for years past? Is it not quite wrong that an Act which has for sixty years been on the Statute Book for the benefit of the crofter counties should be abrogated and become a dead letter without a Minister making a statement to the House to that effect? Who is running the Scottish Office?

Lord John Hope

Without being drawn into the latter part of that rather long supplementary question by my hon. Friend, may I remind him, because I think that he will be the first to wish to get a fair picture, that in October, 1956, the undertaking was given to this county council that representations as to urgency in individual cases would be considered? It is as long ago as that. In only one case were any representations received.