asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why the applications of Caithness County Council of December, 1957, December, 1958, and 3rd June, 1959, for grant under the Rural Water Supplies and Sewerage (Scotland) Acts, 1944–1955, for a new sewerage system in Halkirk to replace the old septic tanks, have been refused; and if he will make a statement.
These applications have hitherto failed because a high rate of Exchequer equalisation grant, currently 67 per cent., would in any event have been payable on the expenditure involved. A revised basis of sewerage grant is, however, being worked out, and I expect to make an offer to the county council very shortly. I shall see that the hon. Member is told when this is done.
Is it not wholly wrong that the large village of Halkirk should still have seventy-three houses without piped water supply and without any sanitation, while the remainder which have piped water use septic tanks which overflow into the river and are a menace to public health?