HC Deb 18 November 1958 vol 595 cc993-4
21. Sir D. Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much of the estimated saving of about £3,000,000 in the first year through the discontinuance of existing marginal production schemes will be achieved at the expense of Scottish farmers or land holders.

Mr. N. Macpherson

The cost of the existing marginal agricultural production schemes in Scotland is £1,200,000 which is also the estimated cost of the new schemes in the first full year. The Scottish farming industry is not, therefore, expected to lose financially as a result of the new proposals.

Sir D. Robertson

While the industry as a whole may not lose, I wonder how the four northern counties will fare, because all the farms there are on marginal land. My constituents, and, I imagine, those of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), are very anxious about the situation. As they produce the highest quality beef and mutton, is it desirable to make them suffer at this time?

Mr. Macpherson

I was glad to see that a Thurso farmer was among those who supported the scheme at a recent National Farmers' Union Council meeting in Edinburgh. I refer my hon. Friend to the clear explanation which was given by my noble Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State in the debate on 10th November.