Land Settlement, Scotland.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ex-Service Men. – in the House of Commons on 18th May 1922.

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Photo of Mr Donald Maclean Mr Donald Maclean , Peebles and Southern

23.

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether a scheme prepared by the Board of Agriculture for constituting holdings on the site of Nigg Camp, Ross-shire, and approved by the Treasury, has now been postponed?

Photo of Mr Thomas Kennedy Mr Thomas Kennedy , Kirkcaldy District of Burghs

24.

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he has received a resolution of protest against the delay in providing small holdings on the site of Nigg Camp; and whether he can hold out any hope of early action to satisfy the demand put forward by ex-service men?

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

The scheme to which my right hon. Friend refers was laid before me in accordance with the provisions of the Land Settlement (Scotland) Act, 1919. On consideration of all the circumstances I did not feel justified in authorising the scheme. In accordance with my instructions, however, the Board of Agriculture are proceeding under an alternative method by which I hope that a suitable scheme for the settlement of ex-service men may be arranged very shortly.

Photo of Mr Donald Maclean Mr Donald Maclean , Peebles and Southern

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that owing to the disappointment of these ex-service men at the delay they have now seized the land and are in possession of it?

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I think that is not so. I have taken steps to inform these ex-service men of the present position and the instructions I have given, and the situation has been entirely eased.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

Do we understand that the scheme has been abandoned after it had been approved by the Treasury?

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

The scheme was abandoned because, under authority conferred upon me by Statute, I did not think it proper that it should proceed.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

Had it meantime been approved by the Treasury.

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I think it had been approved by the Treasury so far as the Treasury had jurisdiction, and by the Board of Agriculture, but by this Statute the final say in the matter is conferred upon the Secretary for Scotland.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

What are the grounds for the right hon. Gentleman's decision?

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I am not at all sure that I am bound to give them in answer to a question. I gave the scheme most careful consideration and in the exercise of the discretion conferred on me I turned it down.

Photo of Mr James Hogge Mr James Hogge , Edinburgh East

What precisely does the Minister mean by saying he is not bound to give us, who represent Scottish seats, the information on which he turned down this proposal?

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

I said quite distinctly that I am not sure that I am bound to give that information in answer to a question. The hon. Member will have the fullest opportunity, if he desires it, to raise it.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

May we not be informed why the right hon. Gentleman changed his mind?

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

Must there not have been a change of mind, in view of the fact that he submitted it to the Treasury?

Photo of Mr Robert Munro Mr Robert Munro , Roxburghshire and Selkirkshire

No, the Treasury has to consider the matter from the point of view of finance. I have to consider it from a wider point of view.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

Was not the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the scheme when he submitted it to the Treasury?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The hon. and gallant Gentleman had better raise it on the Estimates.