HC Deb 01 July 1920 vol 131 cc694-5W

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether, in regard to the proposed sale of all the land at Gretna to a beet cultivation and manufacturing company, and the consequent disappointment amongst a number of ex-service men, who had been awaiting, in view of public statements made regarding it, settlement upon this land by the Scottish Board of Agriculture, he will make public the means by which he intends to secure the establishment of small holdings upon the Gretna estate, and to safeguard the interests of small holders thereafter, or whether he will consider the advisability of acquiring a portion of the estate in order to establish small holdings upon it and to satisfy the local demand for the same.


The scheme for the utilisation of the land at Gretna which is presently under consideration provides for the settlement of smallholders to an extent at least equal to that originally contemplated by the Board of Agriculture for Scotland. I am not in a position at present to state the conditions on which the smallholders will be settled, but my hon. and gallant Friend may rest assured that this aspect of the matter will not be overlooked. As the scheme embraces the whole of the available land, I do net propose to adopt the alternative suggested in the last part of the question.