Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland. – in the House of Commons on 13th March 1934.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he is aware of the request for a road for vehicular traffic by the people of Leacklee, Kyles Stockinish, Cluer, Collam, Grosebay and Scadabay, Isle of Harris; that the county council's surveyor has reported that the population numbers 600 and that the cost of adding the 6½ miles of road to the list of highways would be £15,000; and will he take the initiative of getting grants from the Ministry of Transport and the Treasury;
(2) if he is aware of the petitions and correspondence that have been put before the Department of Agriculture for years by the inhabitants of Carinish, Knock-queen and Cladach Carinish, North Uist, requesting the construction of a road for vehicular traffic to connect them with the highway; that the original survey estimate of £6,000 was modified to £2,024, by the crofters being willing to use the strand when the tide was out; and, as the Department of Agriculture consider the offer of a grant unlikely, will he take the initiative and get a grant from the Ministry of Transport or the Treasury?
As I have explained to my hon. Friend in my letters to him on the subject, the question of the construction of these roads is one primarily for the county council of Inverness. I understand that the representatives of the Outer Islands districts on the county council will in the near future review and report on the whole subject of road construction in these districts. As regards the last parts of the questions, the county council must themselves make the applications for any grants they may desire.
May I ask my right hon. Friend if the county councillors of the Outer Isles, after meeting together, make a united request for the construction of necessary roads, and other means of transport, will he then put these requests before the Government Departments concerned in order to enable the county councils to get the funds to provide adequate transport facilities for the people?
The usual procedure is that these reports go first to the Ministry of Transport, and through that Ministry we come in touch with the county council. I can assure my hon. Friend that if all parties are agreed there will be no delay in the matter.
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 Lem-re-way, Isle of Lewis, requesting the construction of a road for vehicular traffic to connect them with the highway; that in 1912 they constructed 1,000 yards by free labour; that the highways committee have agreed to construct the road, subject to the approval of the county council and to grants totalling 75 per cent. from the Department of Agriculture and the Ministry of Transport, and 25 per cent. from the local people by way of free labour; and, in view of the poverty of these people, will he forthwith get the road constructed without making any condition of free labour?
I am aware of the desire expressed by the inhabitants of Lem-re-way for this road, and as I have stated in the course of recent correspondence with my hon. Friend the Departments concerned will reach a decision on the matter without undue delay. With regard to the fourth part of the question, however, the form that any local contribution to the cost of a scheme shall take is a matter for the local authority.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the total cost involved in the construction of this road has been estimated at £1,000, and that the local people have been paying road rates for 60 years; is he further aware of the large amount of destitution in the district, and will he get this road constructed forthwith?
I am aware of the facts mentioned by my hon. Friend, but, as I have told him more than once, the initiative for these matters must rest with the county council, which, as I have stated before, has to repair and upkeep these roads in future years.