asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many applications for Hill Cattle subsidy have been refused in respect of land which was classified as hill land when the agricultural executive committees were responsible for making such recommendations but which has been re-classified and excluded since the Department of Agriculture's livestock inspectors have been responsible for making recommendations.
Of the 12,700 applications received in 1948, 11,874 have been passed, 424 have been refused and 383 remain to be dealt with. Of those refused to date, 133 come within the category to which the hon. Member refers.
Does not the Minister think that it is more likely on the face of it that agricultural executive committees will be in a better position to know from their local knowledge whether land is qualified as hill farming land or as upland than his inspectors? Will he look at this again and see if hardship can be avoided by making grants in cases which were formerly covered?
Naturally everyone who deals with the matter thinks he knows best. The advantage of having an inspector is that it does not lead to discrepancies between the judgment of one area and the judgment of another. The inspectors are judging by the same standard for Scotland as a whole, which is fairer to the farmers.
Will the Secretary of State make a political test of these applicants, and if there are any rotten Tories, not give them a bean?