§ 17. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to guarantee loans to the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board under Section 14 (1) of the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Act, 1943, for the relief of financial difficulties arising out of payments of compensation to objectors to the Board's schemes.
The payment of compensation in connection with constructional schemes is a purpose for which the Board has powers to borrow. At the present time the borrowing of the Board is not financed by market loans with Treasury guarantee but by Exchequer advance under Section 42 of the Finance Act, 1956.
§ Mr. MacMillan
Is the Chancellor aware that the Board is already pleading financial difficulties and refusing for that reason to supply its first priority statutory consumers in the outlying areas? Is he further aware that one of the main causes of those difficulties—certainly one of the causes—is the princely hand-outs of compensation to people like salmon fishery owners—all done in secret—and does he not agree that the time has come to have a full scrutiny by this House of all the Board's activities, involving as they do, Treasury guarantees of loans?
In general, any policy questions would fall to be taken up by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. Payment of compensation must, of course, be in accordance with the scheme.