§ Mr. LIVINGSTONE
asked the Secretary for Scotland why the land drainage scheme does not extend to the Western 610W Isles; and whether, in view of the necessity for land improvement in crofting areas, he is prepared to extend this scheme so as to include these isles?
The object of the land drainage scheme is not only the improvement of land, but the relief of unemployment. This scheme is not considered suitable for application to the Western Isles because of the expense and difficulty of supervising a large number of small and isolated operations and the difficulty of securing the necessary administrative and financial control. Accordingly the relief of unemployment in the Western Isles has been treated as a problem distinct from that on the mainland, and it has been found that the construction and improvement of roads is the most suitable useful work in these areas both from the point of view of relieving distress and of administration. Relatively larger sums have been expended on road works for the relief of distress in the Western Isles than on the land drainage scheme elsewhere. It follows, therefore, that the non-application of the drainage scheme to the Western Isles does not constitute a hardship seeing that the needs of that district have been more suitably met by relief works of another kind. In the circumstances I am not prepared to extend the land drainage scheme to these islands.