HC Deb 11 March 1958 vol 584 cc216-7
23. Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what road construction schemes are now proceeding with financial aid from his Department in the islands of Barra, North and South Uist, Harris, and Lewis, respectively; and what reply he has made to Ross and Cromarty County Council's most recent request for grant-aid for the construction of the Tolsta-Ness road in the Isle of Lewis.

Mr. N. Macpherson

I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement giving the information requested in the first part of the Question. As regards the second part, my right hon. Friend has received no request for financial assistance for the construction of a road between Tolsta and Ness, but he informed the County Council of Ross and Cromarty in July last that he did not think that the inclusion of such a road in its development plan would be justified.

Mr. MacMillan

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the islands there are over 2,000 people unemployed, mostly men, and that the figure now stands at about 33 per cent., which is several times the next highest in Scotland? Is not it a fact that if construction could now proceed on some of these schemes, it would give employment to a considerable number of people in the islands? Why does not the hon. Gentleman take the initiative in this matter instead of waiting for a backward county council to do it? In reference to the second part of the Answer, may I ask whether the hon. Gentleman is aware that the construction of this road would open up some of the best land in the area for land settlement, would open up the tourist industry, would be a great economy in transport and improve employment in the whole area? Will he take the initiative himself in view of the difficult situation in regard to unemployment?

Island Scheme Cost Grant Comment
£ Per cent.
Barra Nil Nil Nil Nil.
South Uist A.865—Reconstruction of 6 bridges 16,000 100 Highway grant—crofter county scheme.
Uskavagh Road 43,000 75 Township road grant.
North Uist A.865—Construction of North Ford Causeway 452,000 90 75 per cent, highway grant, 15 per cent, township road grant.
Newton ferry access road 8,500 75 Township road grant.
Lochportain township roads 25,000 100 Estate responsibility of Secretary of State,
Harris A.859 and A.868—Reconstruction and resurfacing of Tarbert pier road. 32,000 100 Highway grant—crofter county scheme.
Scalpay roads 42,000 75 Township road grant.
Quidinish roads 23,000 75 Township road grant.
Lewis B.895—Gress bridge 5,600 60 Highway grant.
A.857/B.8027 junction improvement 3,400 75 Highway grant.
West Cromore road 1,600 85 Township road grant.
Carloway-Garenin road 4,100 85 Township road grant.
Adabrock road 2,500 75 Township road grant.