Water Supply, North Uist

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1951.

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Photo of Mr Malcolm Macmillan Mr Malcolm Macmillan , Na h-Eileanan an Iar 12:00 am, 24th July 1951

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state the plans for water supply for the Isle of North Uist; what part of the work is to begin this year; and whether he will take urgent steps to hasten the work in view of the deplorable condition of the existing supplies.

Mr. McNeil:

The county council have prepared a regional scheme for North Uist estimated to cost over £200,000, but they have not so far included any part of it in their initial programme of the most urgent works. I am prepared, however, naturally to consider any adjustment of the programme within its present approved limits which the county council may suggest for this purpose.

Photo of Mr Malcolm Macmillan Mr Malcolm Macmillan , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Is my right hon. Friend aware that all the schemes within the present financial limit are already prepared and that some of them are now under way, that no provision whatever has been made for this island in the next four or five years, that at this moment there is an epidemic of gastro-enteritis and influenza, that the local doctor is using pumped water, and that the place is in a deplorable condition from the unhealthy and unhygienic water? Cannot my right hon. Friend put some life into these schemes and see that North Uist has a chance with the rest of the country?

Mr. McNeil:

I have great sympathy, but I am sure that my hon. Friend would not ask me to do the work of the county council. The scheme is there on paper, and it is for them to make a programme for their scheme.

Photo of Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton , Inverness

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the urgent nature of the problem throughout the whole of the Highlands?

Mr. McNeil:

I am aware of it.

Photo of Mr Malcolm Macmillan Mr Malcolm Macmillan , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is not the county council which sets the overall limit of expenditure, and that the county council has prepared schemes to the limit of that expenditure? Surely the Department of Health and the Treasury can now make some allowance and show a little elasticity in favour of places as badly served as this island?

Mr. McNeil:

I think I have displayed my willingness not to be tied to a rigid figure, but the material and labour must he available.