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Volume 244: debated on Tuesday 4 November 1930

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Agricultural Credits


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress, if any, he has made in putting into operation the provisions of the Agricultural Credits (Scotland) Act, 1929?


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps have been taken to bring into operation the provisions of Part I of the Agricultural Credits (Scotland) Act, 1929?

Active negotiations have been proceeding, and the position now is that two alternative methods of meeting the difficulties are in an advanced stage of discussion. I hope, to be in a position ere long to announce that one or other of these will be adopted.

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that two years ago an English Act corresponding to this one was passed, and has been in active operation for over a year; and is he aware that, while the English farmers are getting credit, the Scottish farmers are not?

I am well aware of that fact, but I would remind my right hon. and learned Friend that the difficulty, so far as Scotland is concerned, has been in getting the banks to take up the schemes as freely as the English banks did.

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House that the Scottish banks are now prepared to take them up?

Small Holdings, Lushentyre


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give the latest available costs incurred in the acquisition and development of the estate of Lushentyre for smallholdings; the cost likely to be incurred in the development of the estate by the Government; and the date when the settlement is likely to become effective?

The costs of acquisition have yet to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919. The costs incurred to date in connection with the development of the property (including the purchase of sheep stock) amount to approximately £2,600; the total cost of development, exclusive of acquisition but including the equipment of the new holdings is estimated at £8,650. During the development period some of the prospective new holders have been and will be given temporary lets for grazing and small cultivations and are being employed by the Department on development works; they are also being given facilities for the erection of dwelling-houses and steading buildings, and will be given effective occupation of their holdings at the earliest possible date.

Local Government Act


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the proportion of the total grant credited to the county council of Ross and Cromarty which is allocated in respect of each of the various services to the Island of Lewis and the mainland part of the county, respectively, as specified in the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1929?

I am making inquiry and will communicate further with the hon. Member.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has received any complaints respecting the operation of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1929, especially the portion dealing with public assistance; and if any steps have been taken to ensure a better working of the Act?

I cannot within the limits of a Parliamentary reply deal with the various representa- tions my right hon. Friend has received regarding the Act, but he is presently considering various representations which have been made to him on the lines indicated in the hon. Member's question, and he would be glad if the hon. Member could give him any additional information which may have come to his notice.

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us whether the conference has been arranged between himself and the local authorities with regard to public assistance?

No conference has been arranged between me and the local authorities, but I understand that there is to be an informal conference arranged for this purpose. I do not know whether it has been held or not.

Did not the hon. Gentleman give a promise that he would arrange to hold a conference with the local authorities?

No, Sir, a friendly discussion with some authorities, but it has not yet been fixed.

Dumbarton County Council (Unemployed Members)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that members of the Dumbarton County Council who are unemployed are refused payment for attending meetings of the council because they have not lost time, and that they are refused unemployment insurance benefit for the days engaged on council work on the ground that they are not available for work; and whether he will take steps to enable them to be paid for attendance at council meetings?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Part III of the Fourth Schedule of the Local Government (Scotland) Act of 1929 provides for the payment of allowances in respect of time necessarily lost from ordinary employment. I am informed by the Minister of Labour that one member to whom the allowance was refused has claimed benefit in respect of the days on which he attended meetings, but has not yet taken the requisite steps to prove that he was unemployed on these days. My right hon. Friend is, however, further consulting the Minister of Labour and will communicate with the hon. Member.



asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his inspectors have taken steps to test the quality and weight of foodstuffs supplied to Scottish poor-houses; whether any separate record of reports on this matter is kept by his Department; and whether departmental action has been rendered necessary by the nature of such reports?

The responsibility for testing the quality and weight of food supplied to Scottish poor-houses rests entirely with the local authorities concerned. If deficiencies, either in weight or quality were discovered in any particular case, it would be for the local authority to take such action as might be necessary having regard to the terms of their contract with the supplier. The Department of Health for Scotland has poor-house dietaries submitted to it and considers complaints as to adequacy or quality. No complaints as to dietaries have been recently received.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of paupers at present in the poor-houses of Scotland; the number of casuals being relieved in those institutions; and the number of beds in such institutions other than for casuals?

As the reply is long, I propose, with my hon. Friend's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

The total number of sane poor in poorhouses in Scotland at the 15th September, 1930, was 11,830 including 433 dependants.

The total number of casuals in receipt of relief in Scotland at the 15th May, 1930, the latest date for which informa-

Death-rates per 1,000 in Scotland.

All ages14·0712·8913·8712·8515·0913·99
Under 15 years11·99·611·89·712·09·4

Paisley Police (Dismissals)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland tion is available, was 243, including 19 dependants.

The returns received by the Department of Health for Scotland do not discriminate between casuals receiving indoor and outdoor relief respectively. Casuals who apply to public assistance authorities are relieved by the granting of a line to a lodging house, by admission to a casual, sick or shelter house, or by admission to a poorhouse. The numbers admitted to poorhouses are, however, understood to be considerably less than the numbers dealt with by the other methods.

As regards the last part of the question, the total sanctioned accommodation in Scottish poorhouses is approximately 18,000 beds, but it is not possible to say how many of these are available for cases other than casuals, as accommodation is not specifically allocated for the reception of casual cases. Where casuals are admitted to a poorhouse, such arrangements are made for their accommodation as are convenient in the individual institution, regard being had to the number to be admitted and the vacant accommodation available at the moment.

Mortality Statistics


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the separate death rates among men, women and children in Scotland in the years 1927, 1928 and 1929?

As the answer involves a number of figures, I propose, 'with the hon. Member's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The statement appended gives the death-rate in Scotland in the case of males and females of all ages and children under 15 years respectively:—

if the report by the sheriff-principal of Renfrewshire on his inquiry into the appeals against dismissal by four paisley policemen has been received; and, if so, when he will be in a position to give his decision?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I have made orders dismissing one and allowing three of the appeals, and copies of the orders were sent to the parties concerned on the 31st October.

Deer Forests


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has now considered the Report of the advisory committee appointed to consider what steps should be taken to give effect to the findings of the Deer Forest Commission of 1921; and whether he proposes to introduce any legislation on the subject?

Some time ago I arranged a joint conference of the interests concerned with this problem and three weeks ago I received a report outlining proposals for legislation. These are now under my consideration.

Herring Fishermen (Assistance)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered any proposals for assisting the Scottish fishermen in the replacement of the herring drifters which have become unseaworthy and for the provision of a new and less costly type of vessel capable of being run at a lower cost; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?

As stated in my reply to the hon. and learned Member on the 15th April, this matter is within the scope of the inquiries of the Committee of the Economic Advisory Council on the Fishing Industry; but pending the report of that Committee I have made it my business to obtain information on the subject, particularly as regards the experiments which are being made in devising new types of vessel and the hon. and learned Member may be assured that the question will receive the Government's careful consideration in the light of the Committee's Report.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman prepared to take action in this very urgent matter without waiting for the committee's report, as he has all the facts before him and is aware of the situation?

I think both the hon. Member and I would be well advised to await the report.

Unemployed Teachers


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the large number of graduate teachers unemployed in Scotland; and, if so, whether he will take steps to see that education authorities employ such teachers on continuation class work instead of allowing day-class teachers to work overtime?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, but my right hon. Friend has no power to require the Education Authorities to adopt the suggestion made by the hon. Member. I may add that the raising of the school age will be a material contribution to the solution of the problem of unemployment among teachers.

Can the hon. Gentleman say at the moment how many such unemployed graduate teachers there are?