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Highlands Resettlement

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 12 July 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will consider making a grant to the Society of Clann Albhinn for the work they are doing in undertaking the resettlement of the Highlands on a practical basis.

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. May I draw your attention to the fact that I put down this Question to the Treasury as the only possible people who can answer, and that they have passed it on to the Secretary of State, who cannot possibly give an answer?

I have not received any application from the Society for a grant, and while I would be prepared to consider any representations they may wish to put before me, I can hold out no hope of a grant being made available for the general purpose indicated by the hon. Member. Might I add that the proper authority for the making of grants is the Secretary of State for Scotland and not the Treasury?

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, and drawing his attention, with great respect, to the fact that he gets no money except from the Treasury, may I ask whether, if we give £770,000 for a fun fair in Battersea, a very practical proposal such as that made by this society should not have a similar grant?

As members of this society acquired land in Wester Ross, would the Secretary of State see that the local authorities are consulted before any decision is taken to give a grant?

The society did send some people to Wester Ross, but that was not the responsibility of the Secretary of State. Land settlement in Scotland is within the province of the Secretary of State, but it is possible for people to do it privately, as the hon. Member is aware, without consulting either the county council or the Secretary of State. In that particular case I have seen the report in the Press that there was some resentment among the local people at this "invasion," as they called it, and that the people concerned have now retired.