Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland. – in the House of Commons on 6th March 1934.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the petitions and correspondence that have been put before the Department of Agriculture for years by the inhabitants of Strond and Borrisdale, Harris, requesting the construction of a road for vehicular traffic to connect them with the highway at each end of the townships; that a patient died while being conveyed from his home, which could not be reached by an ambulance either by land or air; and when will a road be provided for these townships and the people of South Harris?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I have no information as to the incident mentioned in the second part of the question. As I informed the hon. Member in my letter of 10th February, the initiative in the matter of providing a road rests with the county council to whom it would be open to apply for a Grant-in-Aid of the cost of constructing the road.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when applications are sent in for the construction of township roads the Department of Agriculture, as a rule, leaves the initiative with the county council who generally take the view that the responsibility for constructing township roads lies with the Department of Agriculture who created the settlements; is he also aware that the almost invariable reply of the Department of Agriculture when definitely asked to construct such roads is "no funds available"; and will the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, get the money by pressing the Treasury for grants?
As the cost of maintaining these roads must rest on the county council in the future, the hon. Member will see that the initiative in constructing the road must rest on the shoulders of those who have to maintain them.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the petitions and correspondence that have been put before the Department of Agriculture for years by the inhabitants of Lochportain, Cheesebay, and Hoebeg, North Uist, requesting the construction of a road for vehicular traffic to connect them with the highway about four miles distant; if he is aware that 32 holdings were created there by the Department eight years ago; and that the present means of communication with Lochmaddy is by sea, and when the sea is rough it is impossible to summon doctors or nurses in case of illness and cattle cannot be sent to market without loss; and when will a road be constructed to complete the settlement of these townships?
As I have already indicated to my hon. Friend, the initiative in this matter must rest with the county council.