HC Deb 21 November 1962 vol 667 c1191
8. Sir D. Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, why, in his capacity as landlord of crofts in Caithness, he is rejecting farm workers as tenants While men of means are accepted without competition.

Mr. Noble

As a landlord, I do not reject farm workers as tenants. I try to select the most suitable and deserving applicant in each case.

Sir D. Robertson

It would be interesting to know if any farm worker in Caithness has received the tenancy of a croft owned by the Department of Agriculture. Is it not well known that the sole reason that these experienced and skilful men are unable to get land to work on their own account is that crofts are being sold for cash, and is not that fact admitted by the Crofters' Commission?

Mr. Noble

I can only tell my hon. Friend what has happened to the crofts within my own responsibility. In the last six years, six have been re-let by my Department of which three were let to crofters, one to a crofter's son, one to a farmer's son and one to a small farmer seeking a larger place.

Mr. John MacLeod

Can my right hon. Friend say for what sums they were sold and whether the land was separated from the house in any of these instances?

Mr. Noble

That is a different question, but I shall try to give my hon. Friend the answer if he will put it down.