§ Mr. JOHNSTON
asked the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been drawn to the conditions under which 77W smallholders on the Board of Agriculture scheme of holdings at West Millichen Farm, Summerston, have been compelled to accept occupancy; if he is aware that the dwelling-houses were not completed, the steadings not even in course of erection, the floors of the dwelling-houses earthen, no baths or hot water supplied, and that the tenants have been asked to pay £20 towards the cost of a cement floor; and what steps, if any, he proposes to take to have these grievances remedied?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I am informed that the holders in question were given formal occupation at Martinmas last, and loans varying from £660 to £680 are being advanced by the Board of Agriculture for Scotland to enable them to erect the necessary buildings. The work of erection rests with the holders. A certain amount of inconvenience is usually suffered by holders during the first year of their tenancies owing to the non-completion of their buildings, but in the present case this inconvenience was lessened by the Board's arrangement for the holders entering on the land and commencing the works three months prior to their entry to the holdings. I am informed that the floors of the houses are of wood, with the exception of the scullery, larder and w.c., which have concrete floors. The price of the concrete work in the steadings is a matter for arrangement between the holders and their contractors in regard to which the Board have no information. The loans advanced by the Board are not intended to meet the whole cost of the buildings and a measure of self-help is expected from the holders. Baths and hot water supplies, if desired by the holders, as well as the internal fittings of the steadings, fall to be provided by the holders from their own resources. In the circumstances I am not satisfied that the holders on this scheme have any legitimate cause for complaint.