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Scotland

Volume 499: debated on Tuesday 22 April 1952

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Art Teachers (Pay)

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in view of the fact that revised salary scales for all teachers in central art institutions in Scotland have not yet been fixed, he will inquire into the ways by which salary scales for such teachers are fixed, with a view to expediting settlements by the adoption of procedures customary in the negotiation of salary scales of other teachers.

While the salaries paid in central institutions are subject to my approval for the purposes of the Central Institution (Scotland) Grant Regulations, the fixing of these salaries is the responsibility of the governing bodies of the different institutions. The normal practice is for negotiations on salary changes to take place between the governing body and the staff of each central institution. Any change in such procedure would be a matter for agreement between the two sides.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is considerable dissatisfaction amongst the staff of the Edinburgh College of Art about the delay in meeting their claims for increases in salaries?

The Department have no knowledge of any dissatisfaction at the method of negotiating these claims. I should be very glad to consider any suggestions which may be made.

Doctors

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many general practitioners in Scotland are now receiving payment from the National Health Service; and what were the corresponding numbers in each year since the inception of the Service.

The number of principals providing general medical services in Scotland under the National Health Service was 2,400 at 1st January, 1952; 2,402 at 1st January, 1951; 2,421 at 1st January, 1950, and 2,341 at 1st January, 1949.

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the sum of money paid in the financial years 1949–50, 1950–51, 1951–52, under the National Health Service to general practitioners in Scotland.

The amount paid to doctors in the financial year 1949–50 for the provision of general and maternity medical services and the supply and dispensing of medicines was £5,146,353; the corresponding figure for 1950–51 was £5,220,544, and for 1951–52, £5,211,915.

Prescriptions

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the average cost of a National Health Service prescription in each of the five years from 1948 to 1952.

The approximate average cost per prescription in Scotland was 3s. 6d. in the second half of 1948; in 1949 it was 4s. 1d., in 1950 4s. 4½d., and in 1951 4s. 7d. Figures for 1952 are not yet available.

Can the Minister give any good reason why the implications of these figures should not be given every facility for full discussion under the National Health Bill now before the House?

That is rather a different point and perhaps is for those in charge of the National Health Bill.

Deer

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the total area of deer forest land in Scotland; the area of land in Scotland grazed by deer and also by cattle and sheep; how many deer forests there are; the estimated deer population of each forest for each year since 1931; and the estimated total deer population today.

The Agricultural Returns of 4th June 1951, show that there are 196 deer forests in Scotland extending to some 3,100,000 acres. Of this total slightly over 1,000,000 acres are returned as being grazed by cattle and sheep. I regret that information as to the estimated population of each forest for each year since 1931 is not available. The total deer population today probably exceeds 100,000, but here again no reliable information is available.

Is the Minister aware that legislation is pending relating to deer? Can he say how many individuals own these vast territories, and is it not a fact that during their years of ownership they have done very little to solve the problems relating to deer?

I think the numbers of owners would approximate to 196, that being the number of forests.

Will my right hon. Friend take steps to make it more profitable and practicable for owners of deer forests to agist cattle during the summer months?

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland his estimate of the extent and value of the damage to crops caused by deer in Scotland during each of the last 20 years; in which districts this damage occurred; and what steps he proposes to take to control the herds which cause this damage and to organise them in national parks for their own protection and the protection of crops.

There is no statutory or other obligation on deer forest owners or agriculturists to report damage by deer, and I have no statistical data which would enable me to give any estimate of the extent and value of such damage or to say in which districts it may have occurred.

Agricultural executive committees have power in certain circumstances under the Agriculture (Scotland) Act, 1948, to secure the destruction of deer causing or likely to cause damage to agricultural production.

The hon. and learned Member's suggestion that deer should be confined to national parks raises wide administrative issues which cannot well be dealt with by way of question and answer.

Is it not clear, in view of the failure of the existing owners of these deer forests to discharge their ordinary duties to the deer, that it is time the deer were protected in national parks?

I can only say that to contain deer would involve a great deal of fencing of a very high and expensive character.

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the annual wastage and loss of life among the deer of Scotland; the causes of this wastage; and how much of it is due to starvation, disease, wounding, sport and poaching, respectively.

Can the right hon. Gentleman suggest any other way of protecting these deer than that of protecting them in national parks?

I must say that it is not a question I have considered up to date, but it would be an expensive project.

Would my right hon. Friend consider introducing a closed season for deer when the Bill from the other place reaches this House, or before?

I am very anxious to do all I can in that respect, but there are difficulties.

In view of the fact that neither the Secretary of State for Scotland, nor any one else, seems to know anything about what is happening to deer in deer forests except by poachers, what right have they to introduce a Bill in this House, based on no information or evidence whatever, in order to suppress the poacher, who, if anyone has it, has a certain natural right to do something about deer?

Will my right hon. Friend say how this Government, or any other Government, could keep deer within a national park?

In view of his reply regarding damage caused, that there was no statistical record, is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many areas there is no feeding of deer in the winter? Could he influence some of his hon. Friends to help the deer over the hard period and thus preserve good arable land?

Hill Farming Comprehensive Schemes

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of holdings under each of the comprehensive schemes for improvement formally approved under the Hill Farming Act.

I presume that the Question refers to the crofting township schemes in the county of Ross and Cromarty, which were the subject of a Question yesterday. The numbers of holdings in each of the three townships in Ross and Cromarty, for which schemes have been formally approved, are 28, 20 and 10.

Could my right hon. Friend say what part the proprietors of these townships, which are being carried out on a comprehensive basis, are playing in these schemes and how many of these holdings belong to the Department of Agriculture?

Right Of Way Dispute, Armadale

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that the United Fireclay Products, Ltd., 141, West George Street, Glasgow, have cut off supplies of water to the tenants of Glenlark Cottages, Armadale, West Lothian, in consequence of a dispute over a right of way in which the tenants are not legally involved; and if he will take immediate steps to ensure that the water services are restored pending a settlement of the dispute.

Under new arrangements for supply made yesterday, the service of water to the cottages has now been restored.