asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many claims, to the nearest convenient date, have been received by the Central Land Board from property owners; and what steps are being taken to make them aware of their entitlement to compensation for loss of development rights.
Up to 20th May, 7,728 claims had been received. Since the middle of June last year, a fortnight before the appointed day, the Central Land Board have given continuous publicity to the need for claiming on the £300 million by announcements and advertisements in all sections of the Press, by broadcast, by poster, and by pamphlets available at local authority offices. The Press has been particularly helpful recently on the need to send in claims before 30th June.
Could my hon. Friend say how the numbers of claims made compare with the numbers that were anticipated? Is he further aware that small property owners are in considerable doubt as to their position, and will he see if he can clarify it for them?
I cannot agree that there is widespread doubt as to the necessity of making the claims before 30th June. I may add that as a result of the increased publicity last week 34,000 additional claims for forms came forward.
Can my hon. Friend explain why it is necessary that before form S.I. 1 is returned it must be filled in by a surveyor or a legal man? Is it not putting the property owner to a great deal of expense to insist on this?
I think my hon. Friend is slightly misinformed on that point. The original claims can be submitted by the applicant without the necessity for legal advice.
I have a form in my possession at the moment—[An HON. MEMBER: "Property owner!"]—I cannot fill it in without sending it to a lawyer or surveyor.
Will my hon. Friend give an answer to the second point in my supplementary question, as to the number of claims anticipated? Is he aware that small property owners have been assured that under the Act they have no claim whatsoever? That has been broadcast.