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Land Settlement, Scotland

Volume 148: debated on Tuesday 8 November 1921

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asked the Secretary for Scotland whether the Government have decided that applications for smallholdings in Scotland from ex-service men after 1st March, 1921, are not to be considered; whether he can give the reasons which led to the decision; whether many ex-service men could not apply earlier because they had not sufficient capital, and many others who were suffering from wounds could not safely make application before the date named, because of the uncertainty as to whether they would ever sufficiently recover so as to be able to work smallholdings; and whether, because of the great hardship to ex-service men So placed, the Government will reconsider their decision?

The decision to which my hon. Friend refers was to the effect that the statutory preference to ex-service men could only be given to persons who applied on or before the date mentioned. In view of the facts that the available funds were limited and that the demand for holdings was large it was necessary that the number of persons entitled to the preference should be definitely ascertained as at a given date. It is, of course, still open to persons with ex-service qualifications to apply for holdings, but the preference will not operate in such cases. I am afraid that I cannot undertake that the question shall be reopened.