HC Deb 30 May 1916 vol 82 cc2582-3W

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether, in view of the refusal of the tribunals of Caithness to recognise the necessity of sufficient labour to cultivate the land being excepted from military service, he will introduce legislation relieving crofters, landholders, and statutory tenants from the consequences of non-payment of rent for any land thrown out of cultivation through this cause?


I have no evidence to show that the tribunals have refused to recognise the necessity referred to. On the contrary, I am satisfied that they have given the most painstaking consideration to applications and appeals. There is no case for the proposal for special legislation, as I may remind my hon. Friend that the Government has already taken steps to deal with the question of the civil liabilities of men undertaking military service.


asked the Secretary for Scotland if he is aware that dissatisfaction exists amongst the crofters of Caithness with the manner in which the tribunals are denuding the crofts of the labour available for their cultivation; and whether he can see his way to impress upon the tribunals the necessity for retaining all labour essential to the production of food crops and cattle?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. As my hon. Friend is aware, in the instructions issued by the Government this point has been fully dealt with. I have communicated with the tribunals. They repudiate the suggestion that they are denuding the crofts unduly, and assure me that they are fully alive to the claims of agriculture.