§ Mr. Buchanan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that James Massie, residing at Cottar House, Peterculter, Aberdeenshire, with his wife and two children, are being evicted from their home; that James Massie is serving with His Majesty's Forces; that the Department of Agriculture issued a certificate to the owner of the cottage stating that this house was required for a farm servant and that the house was to be given to the son of the owner; and whether he will have further inquiry made with a view to saving the wife and two children from eviction while the father is absent?
The certificate referred to was granted in February last by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland in terms of the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions (Amendment) Act 1933. If the Department are satisfied that the employment of the person, for whose occupation the dwelling house is required, is necessary for the proper working of the agricultural holding, they have no option but to grant a certificate. But the certificate does not authorise eviction. That requires a sheriff's order made after consideration of all the circumstances. The present case has I understand been before both the sheriff-substitute, and the sheriff principal, on appeal. As regards alternative accommodation, I have brought the circumstances to the urgent attention of the local authority and I understand they are offering alternative accommodation in the district. I will communicate later with the hon. Member.