HC Deb 23 February 1960 vol 618 cc175-6
26. Sir D. Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why the assurance given by him to the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland in a letter dated 15th January, 1958, that no loss would be borne in the first year by Caithness County Council as a result of the operation of the Local Government and Miscellaneous Financial Provisions (Scotland) Act, 1958, has not been fulfilled.

Mr. Maclay

The assurance related to gains and losses ascertained in accordance with Section 18 (2) of the Local Government and Miscellaneous Financial Provisions (Scotland) Act, 1958. In the current year all such losses are being made good. Under a recent recalculation Caithness are now shown to be a gaining authority as so ascertained.

Sir D. Robertson

Is it not the case that Caithness had to spend a great deal of money on providing new schools because of the siting of the Dounreay establishment in Caithness and that when it received an assurance and a favourable answer from the right hon. Gentleman it went ahead with the projects and is now suffering a very heavy loss? Will the right hon. Gentleman look at the matter again, for it is a serious situation for a poor landward area like Caithness?

Mr. Maclay

As the hon. Gentleman knows, I have great sympathy with Caithness in the position in which it finds itself, but the fact is that the assurance given could be related only to the provisions of the Act. While I regret any misunderstanding that there might have been, I do not see what else could have been said.