§ Mr. M. MacMillan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will now make a statement about the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Crofting Conditions.
§ Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether Her Majesty's Government will adopt the recommendations of the Crofting Commission's Report; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mr. J. Stuart
The Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Crofting Conditions is being published today. I welcome this Report both for its thorough and sympathetic analysis of present crofting conditions and for the constructive proposals which it makes. I accept the view of the Commission that the crofting communities ought to be saved from extinction and that conditions of life in these areas can be improved if the proper measures are taken. I also recognise that new measures are necessary if we are to secure the full contribution that crofters can make to home food production.
I am, therefore, prepared to accept the recommendation that a Crofters Commission on the general lines advocated in the Report should be set up to promote the interests of the crofting communities, and I will consider the legislation necessary for this purpose. The Commission would deal exclusively with matters relating to crofter holdings and its work would not in any way cut across the functions of the Highland local authorities.153W
While I feel that I should give this general undertaking now, I should like to give further consideration to the other recommendations in the Report in consultation with the Highlands Advisory Panel before reaching final decisions as to the precise content of such legislation.
Members on both sides of the House and I myself, in particular, must be most grateful to Principal Taylor and his colleagues for the vast amount of work and thought devoted to this Report. They have pointed the way towards the restoration of the crofting areas and I am anxious that the measures necessary for this purpose should receive the widest possible support.