asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that lime suppliers cannot execute orders placed with them by Scottish farmers as long ago as August last; that the reason given for this by manufacturers is shortage of labour; and what steps he proposes to take in order to make vital supplies of lime available to farmers in Scotland?
I am aware that in some areas difficulty has been experienced by Scottish farmers in obtaining lime. The present deficiency in supplies is due to a number of causes among which labour and transport difficulties, A.R.P. considerations, and increased demand for industrial uses are the more important. I am endeavouring, with the co-operation of the Minister of War Transport and the Minister of Labour and National Service, to overcome these difficulties, and also to stimulate the production of lime by a scheme of grants for the erection of new limestone grinding and waste lime drying plant. A survey of the available lime resources of Scotland is being rapidly conducted by a Technical Committee recently set up by the Department of Agriculture, with a view to recommending suitable sources of development.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the committee appointed by him with a view to mobilising fully our lime resources has made any proposal as to how this grave shortage in supplies can be met?