§ 20. Mr. Mathers
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether responsibility is accepted by the Scottish Department of Agriculture for the state of the land leased to smallholders at Houston Mains, Uphall, West Lothian, where a deficiency of lime of as much as 5 tons per acre has been disclosed; and what action he proposes to take to remedy this position?
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Elliot)
The Department of Agriculture for Scotland accept the full responsibilities of their position as landlords of the farm of Houston Mains, one of the best cropping farms in its locality. So far 200 as this scheme is concerned, the Department have kept the position under observation in co-operation with the East of Scotland College of Agriculture, and investigations are still proceeding. I am, however, advised that the immediate application of lime in large quantities, irrespective of cropping, is unlikely to be desirable or advantageous to the holders concerned.
§ Mr. Mathers
Will the right hon. Gentleman keep in mind how this difficulty is adding to the already heavy anxieties of these holders, particularly those who keep poultry; does it not point to the necessity for maintaining the strength of the technical department, which recently dispensed with a chief officer?
§ Mr. Elliot
I do not think that I necessarily draw that deduction. The Department have kept this position under observation, in co-operation with the highly technical people of the East of Scotland College.