Mr William Snadden: That is a different question, but I will take note of it.
Mr William Snadden: According to figures provided by the South-East Scotland Electricity Board, approximately 25 per cent. of the farms in their Southern Area had an electricity supply at 31st March, 1953: the comparable figure for the rest of their area at that date was 44 per cent.
Mr William Snadden: I can only give the facts asked for in the Question, but my hon. and gallant Friend will be aware that responsibility for electricity policy does not lie with my right hon. Friend. We do everything we can to see that our farms get a supply.
Mr William Snadden: There is one point which arises out of what my right hon. and gallant Friend has said about Scotland. He talked about the regeneration of land, but there is also a grant of up to £25 an acre for reclamation.
Mr William Snadden: I would remind the hon. Gentleman that the incentives about which I spoke in those days have to a large extent been given by this Government, especially in the hill cattle scheme, in which the grant now stands at £10 as against £7, and in the additional calf subsidy.
Mr William Snadden: May I explain to my hon. Friend? The figure of £6 million is the amount of money approved by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland, and, as the work proceeds, the Department pays out the money, so that the whole amount has not yet actually been paid.
Mr William Snadden: My right hon. Friend is anxious to introduce legislation at the earliest possible moment, but this subject has proved to be extremely complex and he cannot commit himself to a date at present.
Mr William Snadden: I am well aware of conditions in the Spey Valley which I toured last autumn, but I should like my noble Friend to realise that such questions as betterment and maintenance are extremely complicated and previous legislation has proved to be defective in those two respects. We are most anxious that when the Bill is introduced it shall be an effective piece of legislation.
Mr William Snadden: The difficulties with which we are confronted are not difficulties with the Cabinet or even with the Treasury. Our difficulty is to find a suitable code or formula to deal with such problems as betterment and maintenance. My right hon. Friend is only too anxious to have legislation, but we want to make quite certain that when it is presented to the House it will be effective and will not collapse.
Mr William Snadden: Since the end of the war grants amounting to £569,382 have been offered by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland towards the construction or improvement of roads in the seven crofter counties. The amount relating to Ross and Cromarty is £127,483.
Mr William Snadden: The grants to which I have referred are in answer to the Question. They are merely the grants paid by the Department of Agriculture in Scotland. There are other grants paid by the Ministry of Transport for trunk roads and classified roads. Grants to the tune of £30,000 have also been made for bridges in the crofter counties.
Mr William Snadden: I could not answer that question with accuracy without notice.
Mr William Snadden: I should not think that such a survey is necessary. We have information about the Highland areas within the Department of Agriculture, and it is very comprehensive.
Mr William Snadden: I regret that I cannot hold out any hope that the Livestock Rearing Act will be amended as suggested by the hon. Member.
Mr William Snadden: The figures show that there has been considerable progress under this Act. I appreciate that the hon. Member has a special problem in Orkney because the land there does not comply with the conditions laid down in this Act. However, he has made representations to my right hon. Friend and they are now being considered.
Mr William Snadden: Not that I am aware of.
Mr William Snadden: It is, of course, for the local authorities and the Association to manage their own houses, but if the hon. Lady will give me particulars I shall make inquiries into any particular case she has in mind.
Mr William Snadden: The Forestry Commission have already planted parts of the lower slopes of Ben Nevis. If and when other parts suitable for afforestation become available, they will be considered for acquisition.
Mr William Snadden: As I have said, we will consider any lands that become available, but, of course, sheep interests are involved, and I should imagine that my hon. Friend would have that in mind too.
Mr William Snadden: My right hon. Friend had intended to make a short comprehensive statement about the Scottish windblown timber this afternoon, but he very much regrets that some details of the arrangements which he had hoped to announce have not yet been fully worked out. He intends to make a statement before the House rises for Easter.