Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the trustees of the Scottish Central Land Bank, Limited, which has, during the past four years, done valuable national service in providing credit facilities for the smallholders of Scotland, and assisted particularly in carrying through numerous schemes of the Board of Agriculture for Scotland, made application recently to the Development Fund Commissioners for an advance of capital to assist in extending the bank's operations; that the Board of Agriculture strongly supported the application made by the trustees; that on 8th February, 1919, the Development Commissioners made recommendation to the Treasury that the Com- 976W missioners' guarantee should be made available to the bank to an extent of £20,000, and that the Commissioners make a grant towards expenses not exceeding 2: per cent. per annum on new loans; that on 3rd May, 1919, the Treasury intimated that they were of opinion that it was inadvisable to proceed with the matter; and that this decision which has been come to, contrary to the considered recommendations of both the other State Departments concerned, will seriously hamper the trustees in carrying on their necessary and urgent work; and whether, in view of all these circumstances, he will cause further inquiry to be made with a view to the recommendations of the Development Commissioners being given effect to forthwith?
The scheme to which reference is made was recommended by the Development Commissioners with hesitation, in view of the fact that a general scheme of assistance to smallholders in connection with the Government's land settlement policy was understood to be in preparation, and that the operations of the Land Bank could only affect a very small area, and might do so upon terms at variance with those of the State scheme. After careful consideration, it appeared to the Treasury to be inadvisable to proceed with the proposal, but they expressed readiness to consider a limited interim scheme if it could be shown that it was essential and that the difficulties attending the conversion of such an interim scheme into the final scheme could be surmounted.