HC Deb 06 December 1967 vol 755 cc1422-3
13. Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland. in view of the fact that grants for installing electricity in a dwellinghouse are available only to crofters and cottars as distinct from owner-occupiers, if he will amend the regulations in order to make owner-occupiers of the same status as crofters eligible for those grants.

Mr. Buchan

No, Sir. These grants are available to crofters as part of the general scheme of crofter housing grants provided under the 1955 Act because of the particular circumstances of crofting tenure. It would not be appropriate to extend them to owner-occupiers.

Mr. Mackenzie

In thanking the Under-Secretary for that reply, may I ask him to bear in mind that owner-occupiers of similar economic status qualify for practically all the other grants? In that case, will he not look again at the problem to remove this anomaly?

Mr. Buchan

Yes, Mr. Speaker. There is, however, the difference that the crofter gets better housing grants, because he is in the rather unique position that, while still a tenant, he has to find the capital for his house. The owner-occupier, however, like any other owner-occupier, has available to him important grants which, in certain circumstances, could be made available, for example, for the installation of electricity.

Mr. James Davidson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are more smallholdings or crofts in Aberdeenshire than in any of seven crafting counties?

Mr. Buchan

I am aware of that. It does not, however, affect the statutory position as I have described it.