§ 7.16 p.m.
§ Mr. Snadden (Perth and Kinross, Western)
I beg to move,That the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board—Constructional Scheme No. 2 Confirmation Order, 1945, dated 22nd August, 1945, made under the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Act, 1943, a copy of which Order was presented on 23rd August, be annulled.In moving this Motion, which I realise is a serious thing to do, and no doubt an unpopular step to take, I would like to make it plain to the House at the outset that I only decided to do so after the most serious and earnest consideration. I have lived in the district concerned, I have walked over almost every yard of the ground affected and have seen for myself precisely what is involved in this major operation of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. I have also attended the public inquiry and studied the evidence given before that tribunal. It would be an under-statement to say that I speak only for my constituents, because I have reason to know that large numbers of people on both sides of the Border who love historic Perthshire and the central Highlands, view with genuine alarm 2185 what is proposed under this scheme. As the House knows, the scheme has been confirmed by the Secretary of State, but the final responsibility, as is right, rests with this House under Section 5 (5) of the Act of 1943.
We are all agreed about the vital part to be played by hydro-electricity in the development of Scotland for the future of our country. I do not think we shall be selfish about it, or allow any sectional interest or view to stand in the way of progress. We are all agreed on developing our national wealth, and we know that certain beauty spots may have to be sacrificed in the present age, and that, here and there, beauty may have to give way to utility and service. No one wants more than I do to see a rapid development of the electricity supply, especially to our farms and crofts throughout rural Scotland, but I think the House will also agree that the beauty of the glorious lochs and majestic rivers of Scotland, as well as the latent power hidden in them, is equally a part of our inheritance, and if that inheritance does not demand a fierce uncompromising protection, it at least demands our most serious consideration before drastic hands are laid upon them, and they are removed from the scene for all time.
When the Hydro-electric Development Act was before the House I was on the other side of the House, and I believed, as I think the majority of hon. Members believed, that the special Amenity Committee set up under that Act was specifically appointed for the very purpose of giving us adequate protection against the destruction of amenities. The Amenity Committee was, in fact, to be the bulwark against any possible engineering irresponsibility. Hon. Members know that the Committee has rejected that part of the scheme with which I am concerned. Further, the future livelihood and the general welfare of the people affected cannot be lightly brushed aside. Was not the main purpose of the Act of 1943 to foster and increase the welfare of the people of the Highlands?
The case, I submit, against this scheme is not based solely on agricultural grounds, although serious damage is to be done to the agricultural industry. Nor is it based on the adverse report of the Fisheries Committee which recommended that certain parts of the scheme should 2186 be abandoned. That aspect of the case will be dealt with probably by one of my hon. Friends. My case is simply that the price to be extracted in the loss of amenity from one of the loveliest parts of Scotland is too stiff a price to pay even for power, and that it was never the intention of Parliament, in giving powers to the Board, to allow them to endanger a countryside so lovely and so famous. Further, at a time when everything possible should be done to encourage the tourist industry, upon which this district entirely depends for its livelihood, one of the most famous tourist centres in the whole of Scotland is to suffer irreparable damage.
I find it impossible to reconcile the proposal with that of the Secretary of State to set up a special expert committee to go into the whole question of the future of the tourist industry with the object of suggesting schemes for the encouragement of that industry and to increase the population of our Scottish tourist centres. Yet we are starting off by boxing the landscape and ruining one of the most famous tourist centres in the whole of our country, and certainly the most famous in the Central Highlands. If the ex-Secretary of State were here, I think even he would concede that the Hydro Electric Board committed a major blunder when right at the beginning of their existence they decided to launch out on one of the most controversial schemes it was possible to imagine. When this deed is done the beauty of the heart of Scotland will be forever broken. Once this amenity is destroyed and the natural beauty of the district damaged, it can never be replaced. According to the Board's own survey, this scheme will contribute only one-twentieth part of the untapped energy still available in the Highlands of Scotland. Is it to be wondered at, there lore, that the public, even after an inquiry, are still unconvinced that such a drastic scheme is necessary, or that those of us who supported the Act of 1943 ever contemplated a plan endangering a countryside so rich in natural beauty and known to tourists not only here but throughout the world?
The development scheme of the Hydro-Electric Board contains 102 different schemes. This is only construction scheme No. 2, and I refuse to believe that no alternative could be found to this 2187 scheme that would not do the damage that it will do. I do not want to weary the House by plunging into the details as to what is involved in this scheme. It has engendered so much heat already and there has been so much publicity about it, that it is not necessary for me to say very much about the scheme itself. But it is necessary for me to say a word about the position, and if I may attempt to present to hon. Members a picture of what is to happen, they would see a power dam thrown across the River Tummel right on Pitlochry's doorstep, coming up almost to the town itself. The resulting reservoir overflows the road to the Pass of Killicrankie, eliminating that beautiful stretch of the River Tummel which most of us know so well, sweeping away with it the river sidewalks and also the unique Highlands Games Ground, which has taken its place in the Highland Calendar, for I do not know how long. Old Cluny bridge that we love so well will disappear, and the famous Falls of Tummel, recently given to the National Trust, will be no more. The Garry becomes a mere burn, and the Pass of Killicrankie becomes a rockery memory. Further, think what the Falls of Bruar and the Falls of Struan both mean to Pitlochry, because motor coaches come from that town with visitors. Both these disappear. Finally, Loch Tummel is swollen to twice its size, inundating large areas of agricultural land and throwing out the prospect of muddy flats at the further end of the loch.
If the scheme would have been of any use to the district perhaps even the loss of the Falls of Bruar and of Struan could have been tolerated, but it is the disfigurement at Pitlochry that rankles and has caused so much bitterness. No amount of tinkering by any architect, however skilled, can possibly compensate for these things. There are 18 separate works including three reservoirs, three generating stations and seven aqueducts, the whole affecting an area of 322 square miles of the county of Perth. If anyone wants to see what is to happen, I recommend that they should see the "Illustrated London News" of a fortnight ago, where they will see what is being swept away.
I think the House will agree that this is a stiff price to pay, and the price is 2188 made doubly stiff because of the fact that no possible benefit comes to the people who are to foot the bill. Some hon. Members may know that Pitlochry lies in the heart of the Central Highlands, and 50,000 visitors come to it every year quite apart from those who come for the day in motor coaches. Large numbers of these people are working people from Dundee, Perth and other industrial areas, who have not the time nor money to go further a field. From the point of view of employment, it is Pitlochry and its beauty that has produced so much prosperity for its many hotels and shops. What is contemplated in this scheme, I submit, involves a very heavy sacrifice for these people. They are not being unreasonable about it, but they do feel that their future livelihood, quite apart from the national loss involved, is at stake.
We should ask ourselves whether it was ever the intention of Parliament when the Hydro Electricity Act was passed that such a drastic scheme could ever be claimed to be necessary in the public interest, a scheme which I would remind the House was rejected by the specially appointed Amenity Committee, rejected by the Perthshire County Council, the principal local authority, rejected by the National Trust of Scotland and by a host of other people far too numerous to mention. This is not a question of contemplated sabotage of vested interests. There is widespread and intense feeling about it all over the country. I have myself received petitions signed by over 6,000 people. What then has the Amenity Committee set up under this Act to say about it? Has that body any influence at all in determining whether a scheme shall go on or not? Was any other source of supply seriously considered before it was decided to lay hands on a great tourist centre? These are some of the questions we have to ask ourselves. During the Committee stage of the Hydro-Electric Bill, anxiety was expressed by many hon. Members about the loss of amenity. The Secretary of State disarmed the critics by this assurance:I beg the hon. Member and his friends to believe me when I say that this was one determination of the Government—that though we all want electrical development, and want to see the amenities of civilisation provided for the people of the North of Scotland, we do not desire to give powers to any Board to interfere wantonly and unnecessarily with 2189 one of our great heritages, the beauty and the glory of the North of Scotland.Later in the same Debate, this is what he said in reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Argyle (Major McCallum), who asked a question on the same subject:If the hon. And gallant Member wants an assurance that we intend to appoint the strongest possible Amenity Committee and to give every assurance to that Amenity Committee that every reasonable recommendation that they make will be strongly enforced and backed up by the Scottish Office, I can cheerfully give him that assurance."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th May, 1943; Vol. 389, c. 343–353]What are these assurances worth today? How, in fact, does all this work out in practice? Has the Amenity Committee been unreasonable in its report? The Amenity Committee, after the most careful and deliberate examination of the scheme, recommended by a majority that that part of the scheme which places a power house on the doorstep of Pitlochry should be abandoned. This is what the Amenity Committee said:The Committee considered the effect of the rise and fall of the enlarged Loch Tummel and realised that there may be some unsightly areas at the West end, but they feel that this must be accepted; and further regret the projected disappearance of the Falls of Bruar. They are of opinion, however, that it would in principle be most regrettable that such exceptionally beautiful highland scenery as the lower reaches of the Tummel and the Garry in the vicinity of Pitlochry should be submerged. This scenery is easily accessible to the public and the Committee consider that it should be preserved unspoilt as a national asset.Was that an unreasonable report? The Hydro Board rejected the advice of this committee and, rather surprisingly, at the inquiry it was admitted and adversely commented upon in the Tribunal's report that no alternative source of supply had even been seriously considered by the Electricity Commissioners and the Central Electricity Board. That comment is made in paragraph 20 of the Tribunal's report. Equally curious is the fact that in paragraph 41 this failure to consider any alternative source of supply is actually taken as justification for approving the Tummel Garry scheme to the extent that the reinforcement and backing of the Scottish Office contained in the Secretary of State's assurance that I have already quoted is not disclosed. I think we can assume that if it existed at all it has been extraordinarily ineffective. The objections 2190 of the local authority, which the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid), who was Lord Advocate at the time, told us in the Committee stage would be a powerful factor at any inquiry, have been swept aside as though they were of no account.
What does all this mean? Surely that the Amenity Committee is as dead as mutton. Its influence has been precisely nil. It was a waste of time setting it up. Whether we like it or not, we have to admit that a complete breakthrough has been achieved by the Board's mechanised forces, and, as far as I can see—and I have given a good deal of study to this matter—there is nothing whatever to stop them fanning out over the whole of Scotland, like a gigantic squadron of bulldozers, as my hon. Friend said, fanning out over the whole country and eliminating everything, including statutory committees and local authorities. It is clear to anyone who has studied the Tribunal's report, from paragraphs 17 and 27, that all that is necessary is for the Hydro-Electric Board to get a certificate from the Central Electricity Board to the effect that they are short of power.
When they have got their certificate they can push through any scheme, because then it is held to be in the public interest to do it. It is admitted in paragraph 27 of the Tribunal's report that considerations of amenity were not even taken into account by the Electricity Commissioners. This question, it says, is left to the two statutory committees. The whole thing is beautifully arranged. The inquiry quite clearly shows that the Tummel Garry scheme was selected simply because it was most convenient for the supply of the Central Electricity Board, whose sole concern is to supply industrial England and some parts of Scotland.
The Commissioners and the Electricity Board, who appear to be quite inseparable so far as I can find out, and neither of whom are located in Scotland, are in complete control. Nothing can be done without their consent, but anything can be done at their command. It is not the needs of the Highlands that constitute the governing factor. I submit that that is contrary to the intention of Parliament when we put this Bill through the House. It is quite clear that the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board can snap its fingers at anyone, safe in the knowledge 2191 that they have in their possession a certificate from the Central Electricity Board stating that they are short of power, and they can reject the recommendations of the Amenity and Fisheries statutory Committees with impunity. That was the big shock that the public got at the public-inquiry. I put it to the hon. Gentleman who is going to reply: surely it is time they should put their cards on the table face upwards and abolish all these committees altogether instead of misleading this House and the public in this way. I would not be surprised if these committees abolished themselves altogether. What is their future? They have nothing to which to look forward, and no work to do. Their appointment has turned out to be a sham, and the assurances given by the former Secretary of State, although at the time they seemed to me to be as clear as water, have turned out to be just as thin.
No part of Scotland is now safe from the Hydro-Electric Board, and any further inquiries will be a waste of time. If this scheme does not constitute an invasion of the beauties of Scotland—what the former Secretary of State called the beauty and the glory of the North of Scotland—I would like the Minister to tell me what is an invasion. The Amenity Committee think it is an invasion, the National Trust for Scotland think it is an invasion, the Perthshire County Council, who are to gain £20,000 in rates, think it is an invasion, or they would not oppose it, and so do a great multitude of people all over Great Britain. But the Hydro-Electric Board can wash out the lot if it can urge that power is required.
I cannot believe that when the Hydro-Electric Bill went through this House it was the intention of Parliament, or even of the late Secretary of State, to give such powers to any board. The Tummel Garry scheme is the most radical of its kind ever produced or that can ever be produced. It is not a case of a remote glen like Loch Sloy. It is not comparable to the Galloway scheme, where the tourist industry is widely scattered. What would have happened if beautiful Glen Trool had been taken? It was saved by being taken over by the Forestry Commission. Durham and Lincoln have both been threatened by electricity development, but they have succeeded in avoiding destruction of their amenities. Perthshire has a small popu- 2192 lation and is a rural area. It has already paid the price of the existing Grampian scheme, and must again foot the bill. I do not think that the relentless nature of this scheme should have been tolerated at any time.
If someone could show me that some direct benefit was to come to the local community, I might have to say that there was something good in this scheme after all, but that is not so. If hon. Members will look at page 9, paragraph 16, of the Tribunal's Report, they will see these words:No direct benefit to local consumers is contemplated.''Pitlochry and district get neither current nor cash. They suffer both ways. Most of those hon. Members who supported the Hydro-Electric Act in 1943, did so because of the promises held out for direct benefit to the Highlands of Scotland. The Measure was clear on that point. It told the Board to meet the needs of the ordinary consumers, including those in isolated areas. The Minister in charge of the Bill made it clear that the Central Electricity Board would only be supplied on that basis. What do we find now? Those priorities have been completely reversed. First on the list are our old friends the Central Electricity Board again, because they are short of power. The hope for benefit to the Highlands seems to me a very long way off. What about the new industries for these areas and for Scotland? Have the Government any other industries, apart from this generation of electricity? What are the electricity plans for Scotland? If it is Perthshire's turn today it will be someone else's turn tomorrow. Are not the local authorities entitled to an answer to their questions? The whole of Scotland are entitled to know.
Finally, I wish to emphasise again that out of 6,000,000,000 units estimated to be available from the Highlands of Scotland, only 300,000,000, or one-twentieth part, will be contributed by this scheme. I submit that it cannot be maintained that this scheme is essential to the development of Highlands water power as a whole. An immense responsibility rests upon us tonight in the knowledge that this is a great test case, not only for the Hydro-Electric Board but for other people. We know that the statutory committees are as dead as the dodo. No county councils in Scotland are powerful enough to 2193 oppose this scheme, and all inquiries are a farce and a waste of time. Even the veto of Parliament ceases to be a safeguard. There is a reference in Clause 9 to the fact that an Order must be placed on the Table and if within 40 days it is challenged it will be withdrawn, without prejudice to another scheme coming forward. Within 40 days we can do something about it, but the Highlands people believe that Parliament should have the final say. It is no good saying that the Secretary of State, having confirmed the scheme, must therefore have it, supported by the Government's majority.
This is not a party issue and this matter should be left to a free vote of the House. We have twice tonight heard the word "bulldozer." This same bulldozer effect will be in evidence if this scheme is carried in the Lobbies of this House through the overwhelming Government majority. Let us remember the effect of this scheme, and protest against such arbitrary action. The safeguards are of no use at all, and it is clear that far more oppressive powers than were ever intended have been given to this all-powerful corporation. It is our duty to refuse to approve the scheme. The Hydro-Electric Board ought to reconsider their policy and produce a scheme which will give us the current we require for what has long been recognised as one of the most beautiful and famous parts in the whole of Scotland.
§ 7.49 p.m.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan (Perth)
I beg to second the Motion.
The House has heard the hon. Member for West Perthshire (Mr. Snadden) and I wish to associate myself in every way with what has been said on behalf of East Perthshire as well. Knowing nothing about Parliamentary procedure, I think it is unfortunate that we have to pray for the annulment of this Order. It sounds on the face of it as though we were opposed to hydro-electrical development in Scotland, but nothing could be further from the truth. Myself and those with whom I am connected are all in favour of hydro-electric power in Scotland, but instead of praying for annulment of this scheme we should have preferred to ask for its temporary withdrawal so that certain features of it might be reconsidered. I ask the Government whether they will withdraw the scheme temporarily and go 2194 into details with us and with the people of Scotland. I have very carefully read the Act of 1943. Although I was not in the House at the time, I followed with the greatest possible care what was happening here, when I was with my unit on the Continent and elsewhere. It seemed to us outside the House crystal clear that both Houses had declared that certain things were to be done and there was real approval of what they said.
I cannot emphasise too strongly that in my opinion, and in the opinion of those with whom I am associated, there are certain things which Parliament has laid down but which the Hydro-Electric Board, with the Electricity Commissioners behind them, have deemed unsuitable and have decided to change. I believe that Parliamentary government means that Parliament says what will be done, and sees that nobody outside alters it. What we have to decide tonight boils down to this: shall Parliament be paramount in this matter, or the Electricity Commissioners? I cannot believe for one moment that this House will abrogate its powers in that way. We have to decide whether it will be Parliament or the Electricity Commissioners—
§ Mr. John Lewis (Bolton)
Is my hon. and gallant Friend suggesting that the Electricity Commissioners are not responsible to Parliament?
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
We have to decide whether what Parliament in the Act said should be done is in fact to be done, or whether what is said by the Electricity Commissioners in these proposals shall be done instead. Certain things were promised, and the first of them was that a comprehensive survey of the potential water power of Scotland should be drawn up, in order that one scheme might be weighed against another and one place against another. It cannot be maintained that that comprehensive scheme has ever been drawn up. It is quite absurd and, I suggest with great respect, unscrupulous to suggest that a comprehensive scheme has been drawn up. Bit by bit, in halfpenny numbers, little schemes have been added, and only with the greatest difficulty have the Perthshire County Council extracted from the Hydro-Electric Board what their latest schemes were. That is not a comprehensive scheme, and I am perfectly sure that these things have been brought forward 2195 piecemeal—I hate to have to say it—in order to quieten the opposition to this particular Measure. Any real comprehensive scheme would deal with alternative schemes and offer them for consideration. The chairman of the Hydro-Electric Board, probably the most highly respected man in Scotland today—and worthily so—has said:We have examined five other major schemes, all of, them good in their way.But the engineer of the Central Electricity Board has said:We have not considered alternatives seriously.The tribunal itself, set up to hear this case, said:It was with some surprise that we learned that in preparing their supply programme the Central Electricity Board had assumed that they could count on energy to be generated by the Tummel-Garry scheme, had made no discount of the possibility that the scheme might not receive confirmation, and had not seriously considered any possible alternative source of supply.Is it possible to reconcile those statements? Do they together make it obvious that a comprehensive scheme has been considered and that comparisons have been made? I think not. I repeat, did Parliament mean that a comprehensive scheme should be drawn up, or did it not? I maintain that it did, and I think it is essential, quite apart from the rights and wrongs of this particular scheme, that what is in the Bill should be carried out as Parliament directed.
The question of amenity has been touched upon generously by my hon. Friend, and I only propose to refer to it very slightly. As I tried to emphasise the other night in the House in the matter of trunk roads, I do not believe that amenity is just a matter of beautiful scenery or pretty view9. It is something far greater than that. It is a vital part of the lives of men and women, it is organic, and it has been well said by one of the bodies concerned—I cannot remember which—that amenity is "a total aspect of things, and not just an ornamental adjunct. "Can we honestly say what, if any, value has been placed on true amenity by the Hydro-Electric Board in this matter? I think not; the answer is that nothing has been considered in that light. I am convinced that it was only because of the emphatic, and repeated assurances from 2196 Mr. Johnston, when he was Secretary of State, and from my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. Reid) when he was Lord Advocate, that the Act of 1943 ever reached the Statute Book. Can that Mr. Johnston be the same man who gave an interview to "The Scotsman" on 8th November? Why does he suddenly say that the amenity committee was not unanimous? His assurances in 1943 were not conditional on unanimity, they were conditional upon the amenity committee saying that such and such things shall be done, and I have always understood that in a democratic country what the majority say shall be done has in fact got to be done. It does not require a unanimous vote of the whole House of Commons to say that a thing must be done, and the same applies to an amenity committee.
Now I come to a point which is of very great importance for my constituents, namely, the matter of fisheries. May I beg hon. Members to get out of their minds at once, if they have it there, what I might call the salmon-fishing, grouse-shooting and deer-stalking complex? I am not concerned with that nor are the people who sent me here, though I would say in connection with salmon fishing that the wealthy sportsmen who have been able in the past to buy a rod on a stretch of river have brought a great deal of prosperity, money and employment to Scotland. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may laugh—
§ Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)
They have driven the men into the cities to the labour exchange queues.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
What I say is perfectly true, they have brought much money and employment to Scotland. But I am not concerned with them for the moment, I am concerned with the salmon net-fishing industry. In my constituency, on the lower reaches of the Tay, a large number of men are employed who are entirely dependent upon that fishery industry for their livelihood. They are some of the best people you can meet anywhere in the world. The industry is valued at about £20,000 a year, and its capital value, I understand, is nearer £1,000,000 than £500,000. The industry has been working well and has been well developed, and the Tay District Salmon Fishing Board, which runs it, was regularly constituted by Act of Parliament.
2197 It is their job to preserve and develop the fisheries in that district, a big district which extends from. Red Head on the Angus coast right down south to Fife Ness; the whole of the coastline, the estuary of the Tay it self, and the tributaries, lochs and burns which flow into it. That is their responsibility, and they employ some hundreds of men directly, and thousands of people indirectly.
Those people believed, and we believed with them, that when Parliament appointed a Statutory Committee to deal with fisheries and to protect the fisheries side, Parliament meant what it said. That Statutory Committee recommended that certain things should be taken out of the constructional scheme but, their recommendations were turned down. What are those people, who depend upon this for their livelihood, to think when Parliament says that something will be done and then it is turned down? I suggest to the House that that is not a fair way of dealing with this most important industry to Scotland. There will be hardship and unemployment among those fishermen if this scheme goes through. There will be more unemployment among them than there will be employment after the constructional period of the scheme is over.
Perhaps I may be permitted to describe how the matter affects the fishery industry. The salmon spawning beds lie principally in the River Garry. That river is the one which is to be practically emptied. Salmon are very temperamental things. They come from thousands of miles to exactly the same river every reason. The River Garry is to be canalised—I think that is the modern word—so as to enable the salmon topass from their old spawning beds and go further on, where they will be expected to spawn. The compensation offered in the way of water to help with the spawning of the salmon is to be six per cent. of the normal run. The experts say that 33⅓ per cent. is what is required. Compensation water is dealt with in the scheme in these words:The provision of the scheme with respect to compensation water shall be accepted by all persons interested as full compensation for all water which the Board impound, abstract, divert and use for the purpose of the Tummel-Garry project.In exchange for this, 6 per cent. will be trickled over the Garry. This means the end of the Garry as a spawning bed, and 2198 it means, not the complete end of the salmon in the Tay, but a reduction on such a scale as will make the industry certainly not self-supporting, and practically wipe it out. I cannot believe hon. Members in any part of the House are desirous of that happening. In what I have said I have not exaggerated. Even the Tribunal has said that this compensation is not generous. There may be 6 per cent. of compensation water, but there is no compensation for the people who will lose their livelihood when this scheme goes through. Some people may say that salmon fishing is a luxury trade. That is open to dispute. Certainly it is no luxury trade to the people who depend upon it for their bread and butter.
The basis of all these schemes and the Act is said to be the regeneration and restoration of the Highlands of Scotland. It is impossible to have a scheme for the regeneration of the Highlands if all these things are taken one by one and not correlated with one another. This scheme is entirely a matter of the Board, which lives and has its being for the purpose, getting current from somewhere, and that is all they think about. What about its relation to water for other purposes than hydro-electric development? The other day the House gave a Second Reading to a Bill dealing with large planning for water for other purposes than hydro-electric development. I see no relationship between the two so far. What about the vast amount of water that is required for agriculture in the North of Scotland, and will be required in greater quantities for that big development of agriculture which is the only hope of restoration of the Highlands of Scotland? One may talk about other industries, but that is the big industry which will put the Highlands on their feet again. What about the water that is being taken from those watersheds and places on which agriculture is dependent? I think that probably both things can be done, but it is essential to correlate one with the other. What about the afforestation programme? What about fishing? What about housing? We hope to have a large quantity of new houses in the Highlands of Scotland. They are badly needed. Is this scheme correlated with any housing plan? I think not—any more than it is to any of the other things. I maintain that without a proper correlation of all the industries and requirements of the 2199 Highlands there will be nothing but chaos, and that the whole thing will gradually degenerate, as everything that has been done for the Highlands so far has degenerated, into a piecemeal thing which gets one nowhere. I would like to quote from the Report of the Water Power Resources Committee, which reported in 1921:Apart from the larger schemes, the development of small power schemes in country districts, by contributing to local activities, would tend to prevent migration to the towns. The power requirements of the average farm are but small, and quite small schemes would provide abundantly for the necessities of local agriculture and small village industries and serve to give a supply of electricity for lighting purposes. Such small schemes could be put into operation at once, followed by medium schemes for light industries.What was true in 1921 is still true. There is no question but that small local schemes are the answer when it conies to electrical development in the rural areas of Northern Scotland.
§ Mr. Stephen (Glasgow, Camlachie)
Why were these small schemes not put into operation by the Tory Government?
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
I cannot tell the hon. Member. After all, it was not all Tory Government during those years, and there were plenty of opportunities for those who were not Tories to do it. Nobody did it, and that is what I am complaining about. It is time for us to do it now. I will not at the moment say more about that Committee—
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
Local schemes, which could be financed by the Government, would answer this question much better than the devastation of Central Perthshire. Hon. Members will remember the story of the Apostle Paul and Agrippa, and how, after a lot of talk, Agrippa said to St. Paul:Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.I might say now, "Almost I am persuaded to be a Scottish Nationalist." On these matters the Scottish Nationalists are correct, although I differ from them in many other things. This Scottish question is not being dealt with purely from the point of view of Scotland. The main object is to get power for the grid, and most of it goes either to the South of 2200 Scotland or to England. Scotland is already producing more electricity than it can use. Why is that not being diverted to Scottish uses instead of fresh schemes of this kind being brought forward?
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
I cannot give those figures. They have been at the disposal of the House, but I have not got them at the tip of my tongue at the moment. To sum up, the scales are heavily weighted against us. The hon. Member for West Perth has already mentioned that point in connection with the Government's intentions tonight, but I hope hon. Members in all parts of the House will exercise their own judgment, regardless of any Whips. Why are they to be put on? Is it done to save the face of the Secretary of State who has confirmed the scheme? I cannot believe that it is. I wish to say how much I regret that he is still not able to be with us to night. I know that he would come out of this, if he agreed to withdraw, reconsider and possibly amend it, a far greater man than if he confirmed what has been done so far. He would not lose face, neither would the Government; they would gain immensely. I have no doubt that in Scotland the Government would considerably gain in status if they gave reconsideration to this particular Scheme. I feel quite sure that a large number of hon. Members opposite have had a letter from Mr. Donald MacPherson of Inverness, a leader of the Labour Party in the Highlands and a member of the Inverness Town Council. Among other things which he says is:The methods and activities of the Board during the past year have been such as to fill us with acute apprehension.He also says, going on to develop the theme:The country is today virtually in the hands of engineers thinking only in terms of concrete, machinery and volumes of water.He appeals for support for a Motion to have the Tummel-Garry Scheme annulled and says:I ask that Parliament shall exercise its function and keep in check any powerful combination of interests which might attempt, as they have done in this case, to take powers into their hands which it was never intended that they should have.2201 So speaks a leader of the Labour Party in Inverness. I have kept the House too long and I ask to be forgiven, but this is my constituency and I am speaking for my constituents. In all the circles in which I have been—and they include people of all parties; I have thousands of signatures here, many from Socialists, thousands of them, and so has my hon. Friend the Member for West Perth. This matter—this whole business, the way it has been treated, and the way the Board has gone about things, to say the least of it—leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth, and I beg of the House and the Government not to tie themselves up to what, quite frankly, I believe to be a tremendous ramp. I am not asking for anything more except reconsideration and amendment, but I must Pray for annulment under the Procedure of the House, and I second this Prayer in all sincerity, asking that we may have the support of the House on behalf of the people of Scotland, and of Perthshire in particular.
§ 8.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Cook (Dundee)
May I crave the indulgence of the House in making this my first effort? It gives me quite a kick to make my maiden speech in this House on such a subject such as the Tummel-Garry Scheme. I thought that the hon. and gallant Member for Perth (Colonel Gomme-Duncan) was going to use the name of David S. Graham, who is known, I am sure, to every Member of the House and who lives in the constituency which I have the honour to represent. I have taken the liberty of making speeches in the constituency in favour of the Tummel-Garry scheme and have had the overwhelming support of the people of Dundee. He has told me in letters that he has had 100,000 signatures; there are 112,000 voters in this city. That gives the House some idea of the imagination of the protest organisers. The hon. and gallant Member talked about the salmon fishing men losing their employment. I wonder if Members of this House ever heard of Shipbuilders Securities Ltd., which completely wrecked the homes of many shipbuilding employees in this country? I want hon. Members to look at the pages of Scottish history and to think of the beautiful scenes. One can go to Ullapool and see the beautiful crofts on the side of Loch Broom, lovely things, with white-painted walls and red roofs, with aching 2202 hearts inside them; women compelled to plough and furrow the land while the men go and do jobs at sea, grubbing for a living. All as a result of this so-called amenity and nothing else.
We have to have a true perspective of what we mean by amenities. If we mean the right of deer-stalkers to pay £50 for guns and to hire and "fire" gillies as a seasonal occupation, let us have it. It we mean also that these same salmon fishers should be hired and "fired" in a seasonal occupation in the cause of amenity, all right, then, let us have it. But it means much more to the people of Scotland than that. Many good Scotsmen go South looking for work, far too many. I would remind hon. Members in this House who read in the Press of the complaints of queuing in this country today, that the biggest queues in Scotland were found at the employment exchanges, and at the parish council by people looking for public assistance. All this question of amenities is so much balderdash.
§ Mr. Cook
I am not responsible for the actions of the last Government, thank goodness. I have one or two criticisms of the Bill to make, and I will make them but I want to deal with the case which has been put now. It consists of amenity and nothing else. I am trying to show what amenity has meant to the Highlands of Scotland—glens darkened, villages depopulated as a result of the Enclosures Act and all the other things that went before it. I want Scotland to be treated as a distressed area as it ought to be, and that is an indictment of the policy of successive Tory Governments in this House from time immemorial. The present Government are reaping the heritage of all this exploitation of so-called amenity. It might be as well to let the House know what gives me the right to talk. I was employed in the electrical industry until I came to this House.
§ Mr. Cook
I am also a member, a very proud member, of the Clarion Cycling Club and of the Scottish Youth Hostels Association, and I have toured Scotland in successive years. Amenities may be interfered with by the Hydro-Electric Board for a period of five years and after 2203 that I am sure the amenities will be reasonably good, and probably better. All these people who talk about amenities have never travelled further than Pitlochry; they ought to extend their visits a great deal further.
Let us examine the whole question of the need for this electricity. The hon. and gallant Member opposite said that Scotland produces more than she can use. I put two Questions on the Order Paper to the Minister of Fuel and Power in order to be sure of my facts. One found that the position is precarious as far as electricity is concerned. During the period of the war I was in charge of a very big plant and I can testify to this, because I was called out of my bed sometimes between 11 p.m. and 6 or 7 in the morning in order to restart machinery which had been stopped because of a voltage drop. Then the Clyde Valley Electric Power Company came along asking us if there were not some machines which we could close down. The House will note that some opponents of the scheme have dealt with the alternative schemes in a very crude way, and there has been no case made here for an alternative scheme. I think we ought to examine this question of an alternative scheme. It has been suggested that we should use steam generation. The picture has been painted by the Minister of Fuel and Power of the serious position in the coal mining industry, again as the result of the stupid policy of the Tory Governments in successive years and of private enterprise. I am sorry it I have got to be blunt, but it is the fact, nevertheless. We pushed all our young and able miners into the Forces. We gradually sickened the miners and gave them such horrible conditions that they left the industry, which is now short-staffed and in a deplorable condition as far as mechanisation is concerned. We have also got to realise that coal is a dwindling resource in this country.
So we have to examine every possible alternative. It has been suggested that this wonderful thing called atomic energy might come to our aid, and many of the opponents of the scheme have referred to it in glowing terms. Far be it for me to claim myself as a prophet, but, judging by the way we are going on now, it will be years before we even think of com- 2204 mercialising its possibilities. We must realise that, on account of the difficult position we are in, these schemes have got to go on, and nothing has been said in this House to convince me that the line I have taken is wrong. I agree with the hon. and gallant Member for Perth, who said that these matters should be co-related. We should have hydro-electric development along with the electrification of the railways and along with a Distribution of Industries Bill. The "Care taker Government"can answer that one. These things must be brought together, and I can assure the House that the Secretary of State for Scotland and his Undersecretaries will get no peace from me until such time as we have a co-related plan, not only for Scotland, but for the whole of Britain.
We came into power on a basis of planning, and I suggest in all earnestness that we should go the right way about it in the beginning in accepting and trying to put through some of the Measures which earlier Governments have failed to do. I appeal to every hon. Member not to examine this matter as a question of amenities, because if you talk about amenities you will have to look at the history of Scotland and its depopulation, but we must press very determinedly for the introduction of a Distribution of Industry Bill in order that the light industries shall follow, and they cannot follow until you provide the basic power, and the Tummel Garry scheme is that basis.
§ 8.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Alexander Anderson (Motherwell)
I trust that the House will extend to me tonight, in making my first speech, the usual courtesy extended to a new Member. I rise to support the policy of the Government in the electrification of the Highlands, and I have, in that hydro-electrification, a double interest. I represent a constituency in Central Scotland where the position of power is acute. Motherwell has been a heavy steel industry town for generations. It has known prosperity only during wars; it has had a Gethsemane between the wars, and, today, those of us who represent constituencies of that type in Lanarkshire find ourselves faced with a problem of a local area with a declining steel industry set on top of a dying coal industry—a lopsided economy which can only be corrected if there can be pumped into 2205 that area power of any kind at reasonable rates, and the only power available within a reasonable distance of us is the hydro-electric Highland power. I do not subscribe to any narrow interpretation which says that electricity generated in the Highlands is to be exclusively the property of the Highlands or devoted entirely to the industrialisation of the Highlands. It is the clamant need for electric power which drives me to support this Tummel Garry scheme.
Secondly, I am a Highlander. I know every inch of the Highlands and, since I was elected to Parliament, I have four times visited the sites of the main hydroelectric schemes in Scotland, and can speak with knowledge of them. Scotland, and the Highlands particularly, have had a sad and tragic history. Culloden, Flodden and Bannockburn are names to which some shreds of glory remain, but the blackest side of Scotland's history has not one redeeming feature about it—the Highland clearings which drove out of Scotland her finest men and women and which were backed by the very people whom, today, we find opposing the Tummel Garry scheme. If we take the story of the Highlands down to modern times, we find that, even in the last 20 years, when hon. Gentlemen opposite held uncontrolled power in this country, the story of the Highlands has been a story of progressive deterioration, of progressive depopulation, silted harbours, inshore fishing grounds raped by vested trawling interests, declining village industries and the population drifting, sadly and inevitably, either to work in the overcrowded and under-employed cities of the South or to give new life and virility to the Colonies and every corner of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is because the supply of electricity, and the capital profit to be accrued from that supply, is so vitally necessary to the restoration of prosperity to the Highlands that every genuine Highlander will support that demand.
We are not, however, going to be uncritical, nor, I hope, are we going to deny that there are cogent arguments put forward by those who support the annulment of the Order. When this scheme was originally put forward the conception of the scheme was of first-class quality. We were given the story of a Tennessee Valley Authority scheme for Scotland, in 2206 which there would be a co-ordinated and co-related policy of Highland development, and to that I do not think anyone would object, but, in the interval, we find that the scheme has somewhat deteriorated. I would like, in all sincerity, to make certain criticisms which are directed to show that this scheme should go forward with the full support of all the people of Scotland, and without the opposition even of the people of Pitlochry, through whose streets in August I have often found it difficult to push my feet because of the obstruction of Rolls Royces.
The Central Electricity Board which we have in Scotland today is not an adequate body for the task. It is concerned exclusively, as far as we have information—and I hope that at the close of the Debate the hon. Gentleman who is to reply will correct me if I am wrong—an electricity producing body. It has become, I think we can all say quite fairly, an agent of the Central Electricity Board, and those of us who have had experience in local authority work with the Central Electricity Board have an uneasy feeling that that Board has been captured by the private interests in electricity, and that local authorities who generate and distribute their electricity do not get from that Board the fair treatment that we are entitled to expect.
It has had a remit which is too narrow. It has not, as far as we know, gone ahead with its plans. Lastly, and I say this with regret, it has been most maladroit in its contacts with the local authorities with which it has had to deal. I say that regretfully because I believe that its intentions were good and its motives were of the highest, but it has been dictatorial unconciliatory, tactless—otherwise a good deal of the opposition to which it has been subjected could have been avoided. I believe, therefore, that the Secretary of State for Scotland should convey to the Board the fact that local authorities and local bodies in Scotland have some right to protest in a democratic country.
When all that has been said, there still remains the Tummel Garry scheme, which is the key scheme to provide both the finance for carrying on the smaller schemes and the electricity to make up for the present deficiency in electricity.
2207 In spite of the argument, put forward very powerfully and very effectively by the hon. Member for Perth and Kinross Western (Mr. Snadden) there still remains something to be said. I do not share the view of my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee (Mr. Cook) that amenity is a matter of no account; in fact, I was certain on my visits to these hydro-electric schemes—
§ Mr. Anderson
I should be very sorry to impute to the hon. Member anything he did not say, and I am very glad to withdraw that statement. I was saddened on my visits by the complete disregard for amenity in hydro-electric construction and operation that I saw carried out by private companies. I had the misfortune to see that sunless Highland horror of Kinlochleven. I saw Black Mount Reservoir, a heap of grey mud, I saw Loch Treig, Loch Ericht, and Loch Rannoch showing stretches of slimy foreshore. This happened under private enterprise, and I hope that this new method will give us a better return. There is no one in Scotland more anxious than I am to preserve the amenity of the Highlands because, while in the Highlands we have often had want, unemployment and poverty, thank God we have never had the squalor which the same conditions produce in populated urban areas. We recognise that there must be some sacrifice of amenity—it is the privilege of Pitlochry to make that sacrifice for the benefit of Scotland—but I would like to be assured by the hon. Gentleman that in this construction that is to go ahead, every possible regard will be paid to the amenity of the district. I do not believe that modern industry need be ugly. I do not believe that the beauty of Pitlochry and district need be irretrievably spoiled by progress. In fact, I believe that if it is wisely handled we can give it an added beauty, and I would urge upon His Majesty's Government to take every possible step to ensure that this is done.
With regard to the second objection, the fishing objection. I am not the proprietor of a salmon fishing, but I have occasionally, by illicit means, been able to acquire a salmon. I know how capri- 2208 cious they are and how difficult it is to make any alternative way to lead them to the spawning beds, but I believe that, if the best advice is sought and found, salmon fishing need not be irretrievably spoiled. Perhaps I might remind the House that we have spent about three hours today discussing the subject of artificial insemination, and that it is possible in a modern fishery to have hatcheries which can provide for the spawning beds which are taken away. That is common practice even in this country, and it is carried out largely in New Zealand. So that can be got over, given good will and the desire to do so.
Finally, I would appeal to this Government and to those in charge of this scheme. This is the first scheme of reconstruction in Britain carried out by a Socialist Government. It is important for Pitlochry and for the Highlands that it shall be carried out successfully, and I would urge the Government to take every possible step in their power to see that they do nothing permanently to spoil a very lovely district, and also to see that those wasting resources left to the Highlands are used to the best advantage of the people of Scotland.
§ 8.37 p.m.
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid (Glasgow, Hillhead)
It is my privilege and pleasure to have the opportunity of congratulating the two hon. Members, fellow Members from Scotland, who have just addressed this House for the first time. Their styles are very different. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee (Mr. Cook) obviously has much to say, and he says it with great vigour. I am sure that his ideas will not lack adequate expression so long as he is in this House. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Motherwell (Mr. Anderson) speaks with intimate knowledge of the subject on which he was addressing the House. He spoke with a well-reasoned approach to the question, and I am sure that we shall value his contribution immensely in all debates that affect our native land.
I felt it impossible to give a silent vote tonight because I had some considerable share in passing through this House the Act which authorised the scheme. I had no share, of course, in the preparation of the scheme, and therefore I hope I can come to this question tonight without any prejudice. Of this, however, I am quite 2209 certain, that the intention of Parliament in passing the Act was to confer a benefit on the Highlands of Scotland, and if a scheme will benefit other parts of Scotland, or of England as well, and at the same time, so much the better. However, I should not support any scheme under this Act unless I was convinced that that scheme would confer a benefit on the Highland areas. I should certainly not support any scheme which was calculated simply to give cheap electricity to other parts of the country, and to inflict damage on the Highlands.
Therefore, the question which I propose to examine, from a somewhat different angle from that taken by previous speakers, is whether this scheme is going to benefit the Highlands or not. However, before I come to that, I would like to emphasise what was said by one of my hon. Friends behind me. I think it would be very much in the interests of the Government, and very much in the interests of Scotland, if we had a free vote tonight. After all, if the Government are as convinced as I am that this is a good scheme, they should not refuse such a vote. Public opinion in Scotland is, obviously, somewhat disturbed, and if the Government can see their way to allow every Scottish and English Member to sit here—as I am very glad to say a great many are here—and listen to the arguments, and give a vote as a juryman, "yes" or "no," then Scotland will feel that the case has been put to the best jury in Britain, and a definite verdict returned, one way or the other. But if Scottish Socialist Members are not to be able to tell their constituents whether they voted for this scheme, because they believed in it, or because the Whips told them to, the value of the vote will be very much smaller, and, therefore, it would be better to have a genuine expression of opinion.
I now pass to the merits of the scheme, as I see them. This Hydro-Electric Board has two main duties. One is to bring electricity to areas in the Highlands where there is no electricity at present, and the other is to develop industry in the Highlands. According to figures published recently, there are something like 140,000 people in the Highlands living in areas where there is no electricity available. Plainly, a number of them cannot get electricity brought to their 2210 doors because they live in districts too remote. It has been estimated that about 100,000 people in the Highlands can get electricity brought to their doors if the distribution schemes are subsidised, but that few, if any, can have electricity brought to their doors by schemes which have to pay their way from the beginning. Therefore, the whole problem they have to consider is where is that subsidy to come from. Quite rightly, I think, it was decided by the last Government that the subsidy should not come from the Exchequer; it should come from profits which the Board can make by selling Highland power for export. They must sell for export if they are going to make a profit because you cannot get much profit from the development of industry in the Highlands. To attract industry to the Highlands, you must sell your electricity at something near cost price. Therefore, as has been already recognised in the scheme, before the Board can get on with its real job, it has got to set in train methods of making a profit, and a very large profit, too, because it would seem that it is going to take an annual subsidy running well into six figures before the Board can adequately fulfil its duties of distribution.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart (Fife, East)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said just now that his interpretation of the Act is that before the Board can get on with its proper duties, it must make large profits. There is nothing, I submit, in the Act, to suggest that at all.
§ Mr. Reid
I did not mean, of course, that they must necessarily do that before they begin distribution. In fact, the Board are not doing that, and they have distribution schemes at the same time. The Act provides that, over a period of years, the Board shall balance its accounts—a period which may be 10 years, or more, or less, but 10 years is a likely time—and, if the Board is going to run distribution schemes at a loss, then it must, at the same time, run a profitable scheme if it is to balance its accounts in such a period. In those circumstances, it is obvious that the Board cannot carry on without profit-earning schemes as a basis. There is a very limited number of suitable profit-earning schemes, a fact that has emerged quite clearly.
2211 It so happens that I have been interested in this matter for some 20 years. I do not profess to be an expert, in any way, but I have a certain amount of knowledge, and I do not think anybody will contradict me when I say that there is only a limited number of schemes in the Highlands suitable for development for export. Many of them are much more suitable for other purposes. I think I am right in saying that, even if this scheme is passed, it is not certain that all the available profit-earning schemes in the Highlands will enable distribution to take place in the outlying areas to the fullest possible extent. But it is nearly certain that, if this scheme is annulled, a large number of people in the more remote areas of the Highlands will have to go without electricity during our generation, whereas, if the scheme is passed, that same body of people will get electricity. That seems to me to be a very direct benefit to the Highlands of Scotland, and it is that benefit we must set against any damage that may be done.
Before I come to the damage that may be done, I would say a word or two about the tribunal, because I believe there is some misapprehension in some quarters about it. The tribunal blamed, rightly or wrongly, the Central Electricity Board very much for not having provided plans for an alternative source if this source was denied to them. But that has nothing whatever to do with the Hydro-Electric Board. It is made quite clear, if anybody cares to look at the Report, on pages 14 and 18, that, so far as the Hydro-Electric Board is concerned, they did examine alternatives, and found these schemes much the most suitable for the things the Board had in view. I think that is a misapprehension about the tribunal. I have also heard it suggested that the amount of profit to be made out of this scheme is very doubtful. The profit depends on the price of coal. As coal rises above 35s. at on, so the profit rises, and so does the number of people in remote areas who can be benefited. It might help the House if the hon. Gentleman who is to reply could tell us the present price of coal, and give us an estimate of what the likely profit will be if the present price is maintained. Thirty-five shillings is the figure in the Report, but I imagine the price is higher than that. It 2212 would be interesting to know the price now.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State far Scotland (Mr. Buchanan)
I can tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman that at the present price of coal, it is estimated that the profit will be, roughly speaking, about £85,000.
§ Mr. Reid
I thought it was a good deal higher than the figure given in the Report. Hon. Members opposite have as good an opportunity as I have of knowing what will happen to the price of coal, but I take it that the figure in the Report is an under-estimate of the amount of profit to be made.
Having said so much to clear away some of the misapprehensions about the tribunal report, I would like to make one or two criticisms of that report. I am satisfied that the tribunal is attributing too much attention to the needs of the rest of the country for electrical power, and that they have not sufficiently stressed in their findings, the benefit to the Highlands area. I think it would be as well if they thought again, and adopted a somewhat different line of approach. I think that they misrepresented to some extent the relationship of the Hydro-Electric Board, the Electricity Commissioners and the Central Electricity Board. The Central Electricity Board have nothing to do with it at all. All they have to do with it is that they are, by law, compelled to buy whatever is offered to them by the Hydro-Electric Board, but they have no control over the Hydro-Electric Board policy. The Electricity Commissioners have a veto but they have no right to dictate policy to the Hydro-Electric Board. Knowing the Hydro-Electric Board, I should be very surprised if they allowed themselves to be dictated to, but if they did, I think it well that some one in this House should say, here and now, that they had better be completely independent in future, and that we in this House shall back them if they are.
The Electricity Commissioners' veto is for two purposes. One is to make certain that the schemes are technically sound, and the other is to make certain that the Board's policy is financially sound. Obviously you must have these two vetoes in order to protect the guarantee of £30,000,000 which the Treasury are empowered to determine under the Bill. If 2213 there is any difference, we can question the Minister of Fuel and Power, and we can resolve the difficulty here, where it ought to be resolved. I do not think that the tribunal can have attributed much weight to this consideration, because I cannot believe that the tribunal would have found in favour of this scheme if they had really found that the Hydro-Electric Board had been "concussed" into it, against their better judgment. I do not think that there is any ground for suggesting that. I pass to the question of the damage likely to be set against the great benefits which I have described. I am not going to say anything about fishing, I know little about it, except this. Evidence on the question appears to be rather vague and appears not to have dealt with the point of how far the previous interference with the Grampian Company's river system has affected fishing lower down the river. It would have been most valuable to know that in our estimate of the possible benefits of this scheme.
I come to the real crux of the position—the question of amenities. I hope that this Debate will not become a battle ground between those who say "amenity first, and the rest nowhere"; and those who say that amenity should hardly come into the picture at all. I think we want to look at this in as judicial a frame of mine as we can bring ourselves to, at this time of night. We must ask is any damage to amenities in this case really serious or not? If it is really serious and if people in Perthshire are going to be hurt to any material extent, then I am no believer in that form of progress which consists of robbing Peter to pay Paul. I should not accept benefits to the remote areas in the Highlands as an adequate substitute for loss to the people of Perthshire. But I do not believe there is going to be any substantial loss to the people of Perthshire. On this question of amenity we have all to make up our minds—
§ Mr. Snadden
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman accepts that, then he is objecting to the evidence of the expert Committee.
§ Mr. Reid
It is wrong for this House to delegate responsibility to anybody else. This House cannot delegate its responsibility to an Amenity Committee or to a Minister or to anyone. You set up an Amenity Committee to advise him. You 2214 get advice by three to two—a narrow majority. There is no doubt that you may pay more attention to the findings of three than two; but you have to weigh it. I will not be a party to any idea that we have to delegate our responsibility in this matter to anybody. Let me examine the matter. I do not profess to know the district as well as some hon. Members here, but I did take the trouble to go round and to visualise at each step what it was going to look like. I cannot see that the character of the neighbourhood is going to be seriously damaged, or indeed damaged at all.
To begin with, this glen is not in a very prominent position. It is not going to be made an eyesore for miles around. You have to go and look for it. Therefore you are not going to damage or alter the character of the neighbourhood as a whole. Are you going to do any serious damage to the glen itself? I do not think so. I tried to picture in my mind the difference between a stream and a winding loch about two or three miles long. Subject to one point, although there is going to be a considerable change, I cannot see that there is going to be such a great disturbance of amenities as some people seem to suggest. The one point is the fluctuation in the water level of the loch. I hope that the Board will take every possible care to see that we are not left with unsightly banks when the waters go up and down daily. I think that there are means of avoiding that, and I am sure the Board will do their best to avoid it. I do not think that is going to be a very serious factor.
I cannot believe that there will be any financial loss, not one penny, to the inhabitants of Pitlochry. I cannot believe that one person less is going to stay there than have gone in the past, or that there will be any loss of trade in the town. I think the afforestation and the cutting of woods which have occurred in various areas in the Highlands during the last 20 to 25 years have changed the character r of many a scene far, far more than will be done, possibly, by these hydro-electric schemes. The Highlands have survived a good deal in that way, and I think they will survive everything that is going to be done here.
§ Lieutenant Skeffington-Lodge (Bedford)
Does my right hon. and learned Friend realise that the Falls of Tummel are going to be seriously diminished?
§ Mr. Reid
I have tried to say that I drew some distinction in my mind between the character of the neighbourhood as a whole and, individual, and no doubt, very beautiful bits of scenery. I think it is right that we should preserve the character of the neighbourhood as a whole, but honestly I cannot get unduly enthusiastic about the Falls of Tummel.
§ Lieutenant Skeffington-Lodge
May I suggest that the right hon. and learned Gentleman's sense of beauty is somewhat astray when he makes a statement like that?
§ Mr. Reid
One at a time, please. After all, there are so many beauty spots round about Pitlochry, and I cannot really single out the Falls of Tummel as far the most beautiful waterfall in Scotland. It is one of many beautiful waterfalls. It is a question of weighing these things in the balance against bringing electricity to 20,000 people in the North. Does the hon. Lady wish to say anything?
§ Mr. Reid
In all these cases everyone of us is the guardian of the future of the Highlands. We want to approach all these schemes as they come along with an inquiring eye, but we must allow ourselves to be convinced. Let me say this about amenities. I have been convinced about the amenities in this case, but there are other schemes which I know the Board has in prospect as to which I am not convinced as yet that the amenity points have been met, and I am very far from saying that because we decide, if we do decide, that any loss of amenity here is not to stop this scheme that that is to be taken as a universal precedent, and that if we find there is loss of amenity in a future scheme we are to be told, "Oh, you brushed amenity aside here and it is done with forever. "I am certainly not going to give any vote of mine on that footing, but shall reserve my position with regard to amenity in future when schemes may come forward about which I would take a different view. But I am convinced that this is a good scheme, a scheme the 2216 benefits from which will very much outweigh any possible damage, and that being so I am bound to go into the Lobby against the Prayer.
§ 9.3 p.m.
§ Major Ramsay (Forfar)
I should like to claim the indulgence of the House for a moment or two, because I am a maiden speaker. I shall not occupy the time of the House for very long, but there are one or two points I should like to make. I think that I am the first speaker this evening to come into this House with a perfectly open mind on this subject. I realise, on the one hand, the pressing necessity for electrical power and the urgent need for electric light throughout the countryside and the Highlands of Scotland. At the same time, I was brought up with a deep love for the Highlands, and to vote in favour of a scheme which might impair the amenities—and I shall have a word to say about amenities later—of the Highlands is like stabbing one's first love in the back. I am not quite sure at this juncture whether I have the strength of mind to take up the dagger. As I have said, I have the good fortune to know the Highlands of Scotland fairly well, and a week or so ago I was privileged to be shown round this particular area in greater detail than I have ever been round it before.
I should like to try to draw up a little balance sheet of my own. I have a feeling that this balance sheet may appear to be rather one-sided, in that it would appear to be in favour of the annulment, but I should like to repeat that I have an open mind. One other thing which I should make quite clear to the House is that I am in full favour of hydro-electric development. I feel that somebody has to stop and think before we proceed with legislation which may give us cause for regret subsequently. I feel that this wagon on which the scheme is being borne has shown a remarkable shortage of brakes. To proceed with my balance sheet, there is no doubt that there is a demand both for electric light and electric power. I am told that the Central Electricity Board of Scotland will have a greater demand upon it during the next few years than it can possibly meet, unless its resources are supplemented from some other source.
I know full well from my own constituency how the blessings that electricity 2217 can bring in a house are needed up there, to make the housewife's lot in life bearable. It is not for me to elaborate on the demand. I accept it as a fact. I know it is there and that it is a very great demand. I am more concerned with the distribution of this power. If the Board is to pay its way and under the Act it must do so it must go where the markets are good, where it can sell its wares at a profit. It must make a profit somewhere in its activities if it is to subsidise schemes in other places which are uneconomical. I have heard the criticism in that if electricity is sent to England it will be robbing the Highlands and the whole of Scotland of those assets which are theirs by right. I do not hold with that argument. It is an insult to tell this House, or to say at any time that Scotsmen do not want to share their assets with Great Britain as a whole, and I know that there is no Scotsman in this House who would not agree with me on that point.
What I feel is, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead (Mr. Reid) has said, that the electricity produced by the Board must be given to the Highlands, and given to the extent that the Highlands can use it, and to none other; that the Highlands must be a priority area of suply, just as is the case with the Central Electricity Board. I realise the need for profit, but I also realise, only too well, the need of the High lands for this commodity. I should like the Joint Secretary of State—I do not see him on the Front Bench at the moment—to give an assurance that the Highlands and rural areas of Scotland will not be forgotten if this scheme goes through. It has been popular inside and outside this House to try to define the word "amenity." I hate definitions of any kind and I have learned to hate the word "amenity" because I am not quite sure if I know what it means. No two people have given me the same definition, and to be perfectly frank, when speaking to people outside this House, I have never heard so much nonsense talked on any subject as on this one.
I have heard some say that the scheme proposed for Pitlochry will improve the scenery, and I have heard others say that it will ruin that scenery. These two extremes seem to me to present a case with which something must be wrong. They 2218 cannot both be right. I am, therefore, trying hard to make my own definition. I believe that great charm of the Highlands is their natural beauty, that is their scenery, the sculpture that is God-made and not man-made. It is the greatest asset of the Highlands, this natural beauty and charm. But I do not think that defines amenity fully. I am quite sure that amenitiesare something which, if this scheme goes through, are going to be spoilt—or at least there is a risk that they are going to be spoilt. I have a feeling that if man could improve on the natural scenery it would still be intolerable to the Highlanders. I believe we either keep natural beauty or we lose it. It is a matter about which we have to make up our minds this evening. I am certain that if the scheme goes through we shall have disregarded our aesthetic sense of values and I put before the House to night that this is a matter of great moment. Some people outside the House have said that the scheme might improve the scenery. I have myself seen on many occasions the effects of similar works on various waterways in Scotland and in England, I have in mind Lochs Laggan and Treig and I can assure the House, or those Members who have not seen them, that certainly in the case of Loch Treig a very ugly result has been achieved. There is a gap between the natural bank and the water of some 60 to 70 feet of sheer ugly mud flats.
In the case of Loch Laggan, at one end of it there are at least 2½ miles of mud, and very unsightly mud at that, and, of course, the usual 50 foot stretch of bare rubble. I am told that in the case of Tummel-Garry the Board do not intend large fluctuations in the level of the lochs to take place. I am told that the fluctuations are to be confined to a matter of, I think, four feet. That may not mean that we are going to have these large and ugly banks to the various waterworks around Pitlochry, but I do maintain that there is only one possible natural bank to a river or a loch, and I do not think it is possible to preserve the natural beauties of the Tummel Garry area in this way. Therefore, in my opinion, if this scheme goes through, amenities will be lost. We have to face that; there is no doubt about it.
And now for a few words about fish. I would like to associate myself with my hon. Friend who said that he was not re- 2219 presenting the rich salmon fishers, or those who regard fishing from their own selfish point of view. In my opinion, in this matter of fish, we are taking a big gamble. I have heard incredible differences of opinion as to whether or not fish will be prevented from spawning or whether the spawning is going to be improved. I do not think the representatives of the Hydro-Electric Board have been guilty of saying that the salmon stock is going to be improved, but they have come very near it, and I have heard other people say that it is going to be improved. I have also heard that it is going to be ruined. I do not believe it is necessarily going to be ruined, but I know that 80 per cent. of the spawning grounds are going to be swept away.
I would like assurances from the Under-Secretary of State on one or two matters. The only remaining spawning areas for fish in the Garry will be in its tributary, the Erochty. I do not believe that at the moment it is proposed to allow sufficient water to come down it to provide adequate spawning, in view of the fact that it will have to represent four times as great an area. Neither am I happy that salmon will be able to pass freely and climb into the Lower Garry—that part of the Garry between the Erochty junction and the Tummel junction. It is a difficult bit of river, all shingle, and at present it is extremely shallow. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the good intentions of the Board in this matter. I am told they are going to try to drive a channel with a bulldozer up this part of the river so that salmon can pass freely up it. I believe if there were that little extra water coming down the Erochty and subsequently down the Lower Garry, it would make a tremendous difference to the salmon spawning. I would like to repeat that we are taking a gamble in this matter.
There is one other point about salmon that I would like to mention. It is that we should look at the salmon-spawning picture as a whole, and not piecemeal, as apparently is the case at the moment. It does seem to me that we think about the scheme first, and then we think about the salmon. We should try to take the picture as one, with a view to preserving one of the greatest assets of Scotland. I am extremely disturbed on one point. Hon.
2220 Members on this side of the House have said that there is apparently inadequate machinery for abolishing the scheme if necessary—if it appears to be unpalatable. I must confess that I treat this with the greatest concern, because a great many other schemes will follow this one. I added them up the other day and I made the number 45. I was told that that was an underestimate. Say it will be 45. If there should be 45 other schemes coming before this House there is a first-rate chance that one or two of them will be unpopular. I would like an assurance from the Joint Under-Secretary that he will insist upon adequate machinery to chuck out a scheme which is not any good.
There is one other matter with which I would deal. Hitherto, the Hydro-Electric Board have employed what I have heard described earlier this evening as a "bulldozer." I see in my notes that I have written down "steamroller methods." I think a steamroller is bigger, so I am going to stick to the steamroller. They have tried steamroller methods ever since the initiation of the scheme. I do not accuse the Board of wishing to do so. I am almost convinced that it was never the intention of the Board that any such methods should be employed. It just so happens that they have done so. I believe this fact is at the root of the dissatisfaction which centres round this scheme at present. I believe that all these letters which have been sent to hon. Members on all sides of the House centre round the feeling that this scheme has been carried on a steamroller. I would like an assurance from the Joint Under-Secretary that, should there be an occasion in the future when a similar scheme arises and it is found to be undesirable, he will see that it is treated in the way in which it should be treated.
There is one last remark—[Interruption]—I think it is the last but not the least. It amazes me that the Government should have put on the Whips this evening. I know I am not the first Member to say so, but it is astonishing that they have taken this action. I cannot possibly believe that it is a Party matter; surely it should be confined to those who have studied the scheme, who know something about the Highlands, who know something about the needs of electricity, and who qualified amongst those who tried 2221 to define the word "amenity." To my mind it is an act which the country can only link up with the steam roller to which I have already referred. Hon. Members on both sides of the House may have forgotten what I said at the beginning. I said I had an open mind on this scheme, and although I know I have argued in favour of the annulment, I still have that open mind, and I am willing to be persuaded if such a thing is possible.
§ 9.26 p.m.
§ Colonel Erroll (Altrincham and Sale)
I rise this evening with a twofold sense of diffidence, firstly because it is the first time on which I have addressed this House, and secondly, because I speak as the representative of an English constituency on what is essentially a Scottish matter. However, I have observed that Scottish Members do not hesitate to interfere in what are primarily English matters, and I feel that this scheme affects not only Scotland but the whole of Great Britain, because we are all going to suffer if the Highlands suffer. It is in the interests of us all to see that the Highlands get their opportunity of prosperity in the growth and development of cheap electric power. The hon. and gallant Member for Forfar (Major Ramsay) suggested drawing up a balance sheet. I would like to carry that Scots' canniness a little further, and suggest that the Scots ought to realise what a very good bargain they are getting out of this scheme. They do not seem to realise, for example, that the Scottish Lowlands and England are going to pay for cheap power for the Highlands. The scheme is so arranged that the Lowlands and the much-maligned Central Electricity Board are going to take all the surplus power which is produced, and the profits from the sale of that power will be used for financing uneconomic schemes in the far North of Scotland.
The whole point is that the Central Electricity Board and the Lowlands gain nothing out of this, because they have to pay for the power at the rate of the most efficient steam station in Scotland, or in England when adjusted to Scottish coal prices. So they are paying just the same, and the very large margin of profit goes to the Board for the furtherance of uneconomic schemes in the far North. Furthermore, as and when development in the Highlands is stimulated, so can the Highlands 2222 draw more and more from the Tummel-Garry scheme and reduce the amount supplied to the Central Electricity Board. The Highlands therefore get it both ways; in the initial stage when it is uneconomic, and in the later stages when they are able to take more power. I am also surprised, as Scots are always concerned with waste, that they should be prepared to see the present regulated water which comes from the Tummel Bridge station of the Rannoch scheme running to waste. [Hon. Members: "It is not waste."] With this scheme the water would be trapped in the enlarged Loch Tummel. There is waste because at present it flows irregularly, and the new scheme, with the enlarged Loch Tummel, will enable the delivery to be evened out in the lower reaches of the river. There is then the question of cost. I do not know whether it is realised how cheap this power will be. It will be cheap because it is a hydro-electric scheme, and also because the capital will be paid off over a period of 80 years. It is estimated that it will be cheaper even than the use of atomic energy. It is computed that even if atomic energy could be supplied free to the boilers of a steam station, the energy produced from such a station would still be more expensive than the energy supplied by this projected scheme. Do not let us be hoodwinked by the atomic energy merchants. Finally, on a practical point, this scheme produces a link-up with the Fannich scheme and with other schemes further off still. Those are some of the good bargains which the Highlanders will get out of this scheme.
I turn now to the question of amenities. It is far too easy to assume that this scheme will reduce the amenities of the Highlands and that it will reduce the attractiveness of the scenery. In some very important respects the amenities will be improved. There is at present a very barren glen, the glen Errochty, that will become a fine sweeping loch, which I suggest will be much better than the present deserted glen to which nobody ever goes. Nobody would want to go to a barren glen, but I know many tourists who would go a long way to see a fine sweep of water, and a fine dam holding it up. I have heard Loch Tummel described as being horribly swollen by this scheme. The swelling, which includes the raising of the level by 17 feet, will in fact submerge the present unsightly 2223 Western end, and the swampy areas, which cannot be used for agriculture, will go under for ever, and there will once again be a fine sweep of water. The level of the loch will be regulated to a greater extent than is possible at present, so that there will not be the mud banks and swampy ends which now exist, but instead will be a loch of much more constant level and much bigger. I suggest that that will be a very considerable gain in amenity value.
We are told that stretches of the River Tummel will be submerged and so become a winding loch. Is that such a very great loss to amenity? There are many dull, winding rivers which might well be converted into lochs. I ask those people who have been on the Eighth Army overland leave scheme, and have traveled through the Tyrol, to remember that part of their journey which took them through the Puster Thal in the Northern Tyrol. In that valley a dam has been built just above Mühlbach, and what was a winding gorge and a rough and stoney river, has now become a lovely winding lake with incomparable scenery. Hon. Members shake their heads; perhaps they have not seen the scene; I have, and very lovely it is. I suggest that it is at least a moot point that the amenities of the River Tummel will not be improved by its being changed into a winding loch. There are also those—and I think it is a point of view that should be expressed—who consider the presence of engineering works an amenity in themselves. That is borne out by the fact that a large number of tourists now visit the Galloway Board scheme, in order to see the works, in their setting. So that what is lost by tourists who will no longer come, may well be offset by those who will come to see the works.
As regards fishing, of which I am not a follower, I have very little to say, but I would like to reassure the hon. and gallant Member for Forfar regarding the Errochty Water, and the two rivers—the Errochty Water and Upper Garry—at present, under natural conditions, have an insufficient flow of water at certain times of the year to be reliable for fishing purposes. Under the terms of the Board's scheme the Upper Garry will be allowed to run dry and the Errochty Water will have sufficient compensation water ad- 2224 mitted to it to enable it to be thoroughly suitable for fishing purposes at the correct season of the year. [Hon. Members: "It will not be sufficient."] I am sure that the Board has been conciliatory in many matters. If the compensation water is not adequate, a little more will be released. It is not a very great problem, but merely a matter of raising or lowering, the levels of the weirs and the dams.
I now turn to the question of procedure. The Hydro-Electric Board and also the Central Electricity Board have been castigated, and the engineers have been castigated by an hon. Member, who said that the Highlands were in their hands. I would remind the House that everybody connected with the scheme is a Scot. The Hydro-Electric Board members are all Scots. The tribunal were all Scots. The civil engineering consultants are Scots. Although not entirely a Scottish firm, the partner concerned with the scheme is a Scotsman. These men are not combining together to do irreparable harm to the Highlands. They have come out in favour of the scheme and it would be a great mistake if we overturned their decision too lightly. Finally, I do not think I can do better than to conclude with a sentence from the Memorandum issued by the Scottish Home Department. It sets out very clearly in a few words the essential problem at issue. It says, that ifthis scheme may serve in some measure to bring the amenities of life where few existed before and to inject new energy into the straths and glens of the Highlands, then we feel that the submergence of Clunie Bridge, albeit beautiful, and the conversion of a few reaches of two Highland rivers into the waters of a winding loch, is but a small price to pay.In that I fully agree, and I hope to vote against the Prayer.
§ 9.40 p.m.
§ Commander Galbraith (Glasgow, Pollok)
On me falls the very pleasant duty of congratulating the hon. and gallant Member for Forfar (Major Ramsay) and the hon. and gallant Member for Altrincham (Colonel Erroll) on their maiden speeches. I think that the House appreciated the very fair manner in which the hon. and gallant Member for Forfar put his case. I am certain that hon. Members for English constituencies appreciated the point which he made that 2225 Scotsmen were willing to share their assets with those who are less fortunate. Perhaps he should have added—always when there is a profit to be made out of it. The hon. and gallant Member for Altrincham spoke with great fluency, and I am certain that we shall all listen with attention when either of these two hon. and gallant Members address us in future.
Many Members of this present Parliament will remember vividly the Debate which we had in February, 1943, on the Second Reading of the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Bill. They will recollect that it was an entirely Scottish Debate, and that the main theme which ran through every speech, was the urgent need for the economic regeneration of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. In moving the Second Reading, the then Secretary of State for Scotland, Mr. Thomas Johnston, with his opening words, spoke of the heavy transport charge in the Highlands as being a discriminatory burden against the economic welfare of the people. He said that industries were going elsewhere, that the population was bleeding to death, and, what he considered most serious of all, the young were emigrating from the Highlands. With those words, he created, not only an impression, but a conviction, in the minds of all who heard him that the main, if not the sole, purpose of the Bill was to relieve the existing economic conditions and establish industries, create work, prosperity and happiness in the straths, glens and coastal areas of Northern Scotland. He went on to speak of what he called the principles of the Bill. The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, he said, was to give priority of supply to ordinary consumers. He hoped that large power users might be attracted, though he could not guarantee that. He suggested that Scotland might procure some share of the electrical, mechanical and metallurgical industries in Canada and Norway. He thought that industries would be attracted to the North of Scotland as a result. Later, he said that, when the Highland consumers had been met, he hoped and expected that large power users would be supplied, and any surplus would then go to the grid, the profit from the sale of that surplus being used in reducing distribution costs and developing new schemes in remote areas.
2226 I wish the House to take particular notice of that order of priority, especially in view of what the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hill-head (Mr. Reid) has said. The order of priority which was laid down by the former Secretary of State for Scotland was that the supply should first go to the Highland consumers, then to large power users in the Highlands, and only when these demands had been met, should the surplus be exported to the grid. I venture to suggest that there was no hon. Member in the House that day who did not believe that the purpose of the Secretary of State in introducing the Bill was the regeneration of the Highlands. He stressed that most particularly, and gave his own definition of amenity. I quote the actual words he used:The chief amenity I should like to see carried into the life of the North of Scotland is the amenity of social security, the right to work and the amenity which derives from remuneration for a useful service in the world. Here, in this Bill, directly and indirectly, is some contribution to that end."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th February, 1943; Vol. 387, c. .188.]Having heard the then Secretary of State on that occasion, I have no doubt whatever that the object which the Government had principally in view was the provision of work and the establishment of industry in the Highlands. It is true that I expressed some doubt as to whether success would be achieved and whether the setting up of the Hydroelectric Board would result in the provision of any great measure of employment, but, be that as it may, what I want to bring to the realisation of this House to night is that the Bill establishing the Hydro-electric Board was passed on the assumption that it would greatly benefit the Highlands of Scotland.
I turn from the scheme itself to inquire what benefit it will bring to the Highlands. We have had the reports of the Amenity and the Fishing Committees. The Amenity Committee dealt chiefly with scenery, not with amenity in the sense in which that word was used in the earlier Debate to which I have referred by the then Secretary of State. There can be no doubt that the scenery in and around Pitlochry is going to be changed; whether that change will be for the better or for the worse is a matter for speculation. Whether or not the new type of 2227 scenery will attract more or fewer tourists, no one can tell; the matter will remain in doubt until it is resolved one way or another by actual experience. How, then, the change of scenery will affect the economic position of the people in the district is meantime uncertain.
In regard to fishing, even greater doubt exists. When I, like other hon. Gentlemen, speak of fishing, I am not concerned so much with the private owner or with the individual sportsman like the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mother-well (Mr. Anderson). I am concerned with the employment that comes from that industry. Today we know that 2,000 people are employed directly in the net fishing of the Tay, while 2,500 are employed, in addition, as boatmen and gillies. In all, therefore, the fishing industry of the Tay gives employment to some 4,500 people. As I understand it, salmon which enter the Tay or any other river, do so with but one object in view, and that is to spawn. Here I would like to refer to Cd. Paper 6660 and refresh the minds of the House on what the tribunal, which was appointed to inquire into this constructional scheme, has to say on this matter. I would like the attention of the House while I quote parts of the report verbatim. They said:We are satified that the waters of the Upper Garry above Struan and its tributaries will be rendered useless for spawning and that spawning beds on the Tummel in the areas which will be affected by the raising of the level of Loch Tummel and the construction of the proposed Pitlochry reservoir will also be destroyed…On the other hand the flow of water, being regulated, will be more uniform and, if they do not damage themselves, a higher average of fish may reach the remaining spawning beds.I shall have a word to say on that subject later. The tribunal goes on to say:It is plain that unless great care is taken, serious risk of injury does exist.May I say a word on this matter of compensation water? I am quite certain that there are many hon. Members, other than the hon. Member for Motherwell, who are well aware that the reactions of salmon to changes of condition are more or less unpredictable, and it is impossible to say what will happen when you alter the natural flow of a river. I would like, however, to tell the House my own experience. The river on which I live had its natural flow altered. The catch- 2228 ment area of Loch Doon, by which the River Doon is fed, was diverted to supply the Galloway scheme. Compensation water was given to take its place. Under natural conditions a spate on the Doon used to last for 3 or 4 days. Under artificial conditions, it lasts for three or four hours, and the level of the water never attains the height it used to attain under natural conditions. The result of that and of the spawning grounds in the catchment area being very difficult of access is that fishing in the Doon has been ruined. From my own observations, I would say that where one salmon is caught to-day, ten were caught in pre-Hydro-Electric days. So far as the Doon is concerned, that is not a matter of any public importance, but if you apply that experience to the present scheme, then, I am suggesting to the House, great damage may be done to the public interest by way of loss of employment, and otherwise. I would refer again to the report and to the Tribunal's final word on the matter. They say:It is not possible to predict, or to assess, with any degree of certainty the extent of damage to fishing interests…All that can be said with reasonable certainty is that some damage is to be apprehended, but its extent and the consequent financial loss cannot be accurately computed.There is no doubt in the minds of the Tribunal that a loss is going to occur. But the amount, they cannot gauge. Now I turn to another aspect of this matter. I want to find out, if possible, what is the real driving force behind this scheme. Those of us who passed the Hydro-Electric Development Bill believed it was going to benefit, not in small but in large measure, the Highlands; that the Hydro-Electric Board, being a Scottish Board, would work to that end, and that it would have constantly in mind the advantage and the needs of the Highlands, and little else. I want to show from the Tribunal's report how that has worked out in practice. We are told in paragraph 10:The Tummel-Garry project is intended, primarily, as a revenue producing undertaking to meet in particular peak load demands on the Central Electricity Boards' Central Scotland grid.Paragraph 17 says that to justify its purpose, the Board maintains a triple contention, first, that it is warranted by the broad intention of the Act of 1943; next, by pointing to the urgent and imme- 2229 diate needs of the Central Electricity Board, and, finally, by reliance on the approval if not the compelling encouragement of the Electricity Commissioners. In paragraph 19, the needs of the Central Scotland grid are again stressed, and they state that it was essential that the power to be developed by the Tummel-Garry scheme should be available for that purpose. Paragraph 26 tells us something which I am afraid we, in this House, overlooked when we passed the Development Bill, that is, that by their power of veto, the Electricity Commissioners can control the whole development policy of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board. Later we are informed as to the point of view of the Commissioners. Their first consideration—and I do wish Scottish Members to note this—is the need of the Central Electricity Board for more power, and, secondly, the need of the Hydro-Electric Board to develop schemes which will show a margin of profit. Sir John Kennedy, who gave evidence on behalf of the Commissioners, went on to indicate that the types of profit-making schemes which would meantime earn the approval of the Electricity Commissioners were those designed to generate electricity for sale to the Central Electricity Board, and that the Commissioners did not take into account either amenities or fishing interests. He might well have added, for indeed it is only too apparent, that they took no notice of the interests of the Highlands as such. I do beg the House to bear with me while I make two other quotations from that report, because they seem to be of very great importance. I want to quote paragraph 30 of this report to the House. The tribunal say in that paragraph:We consider, therefore, that the policy which the Board have adopted in promoting this Scheme is one which they are entitled to adopt, and even one which, in the circumstances, having regard to the pressing needs of the Central Electricity Board, as these were set before them, and to the attitude of the Electricity Commissioners, they are constrained to adopt. It appears to us further that in the absence of evidence to contradict the testimony of the Central Electricity Board, or of successful challenge of the discretion of the Electricity Commissioners the conclusion cannot be avoided that the Board had little option but to follow the course so plainly indicated for them.These last words surely make the position clear: "To follow the course so plainly indicated for them." Indicated by whom? By the Electricity Commis- 2230 sioners? Who can doubt, in the light of these quotations, and particularly, of these final words, that the whole object of this scheme was to supply electricity to the country at large, and that the Highlands are of but secondary importance? If any doubt remains let us consider what the tribunal had to say on the alternative scheme, which certain of the objectors contended would be more truly in the public interest—the Glen Affric and Quoich projects. They said:There is no doubt that the development of such projects would be in accordance with the Board's statutory duties, and would enable them to satisfy the demands of the class of consumer specifically indicated in Section 2 (1) (c) of the Act of 1943 There is equally no doubt that such a project would be financially and economically more adventurous than one with a ready-made customer and an instantly computable profit at hand. It is also true that such a project might play apart in attracting industry to the Highlands, and thus, if successful, bring new blood to an exhausted and dwindling economy. It would not, however, meet any of the needs of the Central Electricity Board…Such a scheme would also have to obtain the approval of the Electricity Commissioners, and while, of course, it is impossible to dogmatise on the hypothetical, it appears to us very doubtful, in view of Sir John Kennedy's evidence, whether such approval would meantime be forthcoming.Surely, the position is now quite clear. [Laughter.] Hon. Members may laugh, but this is a serious matter. The water power resources of the Highlands can only be developed as may suit the Electricity Commissioners, who have no specific interest in or duty towards the Highlands, and whose only concern is to see that there is sufficient electric energy available to meet the needs of the country at large, and who, in their own words, are concerned neither with amenity nor with other interests. I say, without any hesitation whatever, that it was certainly never the intention of the Scottish Members, that the water power of the Highlands should be controlled by the Electricity Commissioners, or that the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board should be completely subservient to these Commissioners as we, in fact, know that they are. From the point of view of the Scottish Members, such a situation is utterly intolerable, and it must be remedied. The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board must be free to act, subject only to the consent of the Secretary of State, in such manner as they think will be most advantageous to the 2231 Highlands, and not subject to direction by any foreign body. This matter has, fortunately, come to light at a fairly early stage. It must be remedied now and immediately, and that, I suggest, can best be achieved by refusing to confirm this scheme. If once we confirm it we have confirmed the powers which the Electricity Commissioners, seemingly legally, are assuming, powers which, I am certain, it was never the intention of this House to confer upon them.
I should like the Under-Secretary to tell us what the Highlands are to gain from this scheme. I have no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State struck a balance, before confirming the scheme, as between profit and loss, and that the Under-Secretary has that position clearly in mind. Will he tell us, therefore, the price at which electricity is to be supplied in the Highlands? We want electricity there, but the price, as he will realise, is a most important consideration. And can he tell us how the cost of wiring the homes of the people in the North of Scotland is to be borne? Is there to be any grant-in-aid from the Treasury or from the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Beard? It is no good providing electricity unless the people are able to use it, and many of them will be unable to afford the cost of wiring without assistance. Is the Under-Secretary going to tell us of the possibility of industry being attracted to the North of Scotland as a result of this scheme? Have any inquiries been received, even in connection with the Gairloch scheme? And what of the electro-chemical and metallurgical industries? Will the cost of electricity be at such a level as will attract industries?
It has been said that our water-power is our last remaining natural asset. We must not part with it without making certain that it is being used to the utmost advantage, and if this scheme is not going to give us industry in the north then we are, indeed, throwing away our last asset. In the Report of the tribunal we are told that the estimated net profit which it is proposed to allocate to the support of uneconomical projects is £28,000. The Under-Secretary has said that the anticipated profit, at the present price of coal, is £85,000. I do not want the House to be confused between the two figures. The £28,000 is the estimated 2232 amount of net profit which it is proposed to allocate and has nothing to do with the total amount of net profit which may arise. What can such a sum do towards the regeneration of the Highlands? What is £28,000 as compared—[Laughter]. I do wish the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) would not try to be funny about this. I am asking what is £28,000 as compared with the losses which may result from this scheme—the incalculable loss in regard to fishing, the unpredictable loss of employment in that connection? Do not let us forget that we have 4,500 men employed in that fishing. Do not let us forget, either, the possible loss of tourist traffic. If there is to be only £28,000 allowed against these things, then, indeed, Scotland has made a very bad bargain. The scheme which we are discussing is to cost £6,500,000. If it is not to give employment of a permanent nature it is money thrown away so far as the Highlands are concerned. Electricity is not the only thing the Highlands want. They want improved communications, improved housing, improved piers and harbour facilities. If all they are going to get out of an expenditure of £6,500,000 is £28,000 a year, the money had far better be put to some other use. I would remind Scottish Members of the threat which the Lord Privy Seal held out to Scotland when he spoke in the Debate on the Address, and informed us that we could not expect to receive continually sums of money from other parts of the country.
Finally, I put this to the House: Would this House ever have approved of such a scheme as this had it been put forward by free enterprise? Would it have considered for one moment jeopardising the employment of 4,500 persons, altering some of the finest scenery of central Scotland, risking a diminution of the tourist traffic, for the beggarly sum of £28,000? I say it would have done nothing of the kind. The House would have laughed the whole thing out of court. The decision should be no different because we happen to be dealing with a public corporation. This constructional scheme can do little for the Highlands. It is essentially a scheme to provide electricity to parts of the country South of the Highland line. We have no evidence whatever that it will result in increased employment or amenity, as that word was used by the former Secretary of State. We have evidence that the profit accruing to the 2233 Highlands is so small as to be entirely negligible. I urge that our proper course tonight is to vote so as to let the Secretary of State and the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board know that the water power of the Highlands must be used in such a way as will ensure greater benefits to the Highlands and Islands, benefits such as will give some hope of a better and brighter economic future, stop the flow of emigration and restore prosperity and happiness again.
§ 10.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacMillan (Western Isles)
I have listened with some surprise, I put it no higher than that, to the passion with which the hon. and gallant Member attacked the problem of the Highlands. Indeed I wish his party had attacked it thirty or forty years ago as passionately as he attacked this Measure and its benefit to the Highlands tonight. He asked about the damages and ravages of free enterprise, and whether they would have been as great as the alleged damages, prospective and theoretical, that the Board may inflict on the Highlands of Scotland. I would like to ask him exactly what free enterprise has done for the Highlands in the last 100 years? Was it a Socialist Government that was guilty of not only standing by, but of actively helping to prosecute the eviction of our people from the Isles and Highlands?
The hon. and gallant Member talks about £28,000 for the small schemes from this project annually. When a Tory Government was in office before the war a sub-committee, a fiddling little committee without any Government backing of any kind, a sub-committee of the Economic Committee of the Scottish Development Council, sat for two or three years. I could not get an answer from the then Secretaries of State for Scotland which did not refer me to the time when that committee would report. When they did the Government took immediate action. They gave us half an hour in which to discuss the Highlands problem. In that report we were given for the Highlands the magnificent sum of £65,000 not annually but, apparently, for all time.
Mr. McKie (Galloway)
The hon. Member has made great play with what has or has not been done for the Highlands and Islands by private enterprise. May I ask him if he is aware—however faulty it may 2234 have been in the way of transport—what Messrs. MacBrayne's steamer services have effected for the Highlands and Islands?
§ Mr. MacMillan
I have only to refer to the cockroach and rat infested vessels of the MacBrayne Company. If I had more time I would remove some of the mental cockroaches for the benefit of the hon. Member.
I was rather gladdened as well as surprised by the passionate oratory of our new Highland advocate, the hon. and gallant Member for Pollok (Commander Galbraith). The ex-Lord Advocate spoke about taking the Whips off in order to get a free expression of the opinion of this House, but I wonder if he remembers when the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McKinlay), supported by myself, defended the rightful interests, as we believed, of the county council of Dumbarton, against what we at that time regarded as being the rather high-handed action of this very Board? Did he not threaten to put the Whips on, on that occasion?
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
The hon. Gentleman will remember that that matter was settled amicably, by negotiation.
§ Mr. MacMillan
The matter was settled amicably by negotiation, through no fault of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The utmost pressure had to be brought upon him, upon the Board and upon certain other people before that "amicable" arrangement was arrived at, but he still threatened that the Whips were going on if we did not withdraw. It was nice to have all this public-spirited display by the hon. Members behind the right hon. and learned Gentleman with whom he, as a Member of their party, so heartily disagreed. Far from our experience of the Tories being that they were, as he put it, the guardians of the future of the Highlands, we have had this experience that they have been the rearguard of reaction and the obstructionist movement against all attempts to rehabilitate the Highlands of Scotland. [Hon. Members: "The rearguard?"] They were fighting a rearguard action. The hon. and gallant Member for Perth and Kinross (Colonel Gomme-Duncan), I hope, may be subject to conversion. He referred to the occasion of the meeting of St. Paul and Agrippa.
2235 He quoted "Almost thou persuadest me—" I suggest that before he goes all the way wrong tonight, he may follow the other experience of St. Paul when he was on the way to Damascus and become reconverted to our point of view.
A good deal has been said about amenities; definitions and counter-definitions, advocacy and counter-advocacy have been bandied about. I am no follower of the Sussex Highlanders. I am no follower of the fellow who comes up to the Highlands of Scotland once a year, or once in two years, to do a spot of hunting and fishing, like an elegant Eskimo. I am no poet of the "lone shieling or the misty island. "I have lived in a misty island and I have lived in a shieling, and I challenge any hon. Member opposite to match that. But having had that experience does not make me any more amenable to being led by somebody talking, not from a misty island, but from a London fog, when it comes to a question of Highland scenery and beauty. The late Secretary of State gave us certain assurances which, I hope, will be honoured throughout the activities of the Board. I should confess to apprehension, if the Board were to be allowed a completely free hand in this matter; but the Board obviously is not going to have a free hand. It will be all the time subject to examination and supervision by Parliament and the people of this country. We are not such driven cattle that we cannot control our own destinies with or without a Board. The Board will have to carry out its activities with all due respect for amenities. Nobody respects more than I do Highland amenities. I am not going to be patronised by any Sassenach coming to tell me that I have no regard for the Highlands. I am sure that the hon. and gallant Member for Argyll (Major McCallum) shares the same solicitude and respect, and that he will vote in the Lobby with the Government tonight.
Amenities we have, and I am sure that the modern engineers and architects who will be consulted and will have a very large say in the construction of these works, will insist, if only for their reputations'sake, that the schemes shall be moulded into their environment. The tourist industry has been brought in as a possible sufferer under the activities of 2236 the Board on this scheme. We could sink a hundred Tummel-Garry schemes into the Highlands without doing any permanent and visible damage to the Highlands. It would, on the other hand, make a tremendous difference if we had a hundred such schemes making electricity for industries situated in the north and west. We know that the salmon is an expensive business, whether the consumer is buying it or whether someone is catching it in the Highlands.
It is not the ordinary Highlander who goes out, except under penalty, to catch the salmon. He goes out at night, but he does so at his own risk. I have tremendous respect for the poacher. Even the Churches in the Highlands regard poaching as a crime and not as a sin. The tourist industry is seasonal and gives only partial employment and a rather small income. We must industrialise the Highlands to a very large extent. The hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Sir W. Darling) said there were two things which we exported from Scotland, wind and water. That might well apply to the hon. Member.
§ Sir William Darling (Edinburgh South)
The hon. Member has mistaken me. I said that we exported water but we wanted to conserve the wind.
§ Mr. MacMillan
If the hon. Member had pursued that policy during the Election, South Edinburgh might have been better represented.
§ Sir W. Darling
On the contrary. That policy was pursued, and the result was that I had a big majority.
§ Mr. MacMillan
A lot of my hon. Friends have paid too much regard to what is almost a sentimental appeal to us to preserve the amenities of the Highlands. The Highlanders, no more than other people, can live upon scenery and amenity alone. They must work in order to live, and must produce. They must be employed in the most socially useful labour, not only for their own sakes but for the sake of the nation. I maintain that even the salmon fishery people are not being employed in the most socially useful way in which they could be employed in the Highlands.
We have had opposition from what is in a sense politically the most backward 2237 of Scotland's darkest counties, Perthshire, as reactionary in its attitude to domestic progress as it was a few years ago to its pro-Fascist foreign policy. If they wish to attack anything, let them attack the Grampian company. They are the people who hold the ordinary domestic consumers in Perthshire up to ransom with high rates for electricity supplies. I believe there should be a flat rate charge for electricity throughout the whole of Great Britain, including the Western Isles. Our citizens everywhere have the right to get at the same cost the absolutely fundamental necessities of a convenient, comfortable, modern life. I believe that the people who have served us in the 51st Highland Division have at least as much right to comforts and necessities like these as the shareholders of the Grampian Electricity Company. There is one criticism I want to make, and it is a criticism which I have faith this Government will meet. I do not think sufficient effort has yet been made in the past—though I believe it is now being made by the Under-Secretary of State—to get the plant, machinery and other ancillary equipment required produced in Scotland. It is important for us in Scotland not only to have cheap electricity, but wherever possible to develop our industries in this new industrial area to service that electrical supply industry and be serviced by it in turn.
The other day we discussed Palestine as a possible home for the Jews. We have for generations had to look overseas for several homes for the Highlanders—Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. Those countries have taken the Highlanders only too gladly, without question of numbers, quotas or certificates. They have been only too glad to get them, because the people who have left the Highlands and Islands have been the best and most vigorous stock. Those countries got our people for the simple reason that the tourist industry and the miserable salmon fisheries and the rest of our "comfort" services and seasonal catering could not give them full employment, a sure livelihood, and a decent standard of living.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
Will the hon. Member give me a direct message to my constituents whom he describes as a miserable lot of salmon fishermen?
§ Mr. MacMillan
The hon. and gallant Member may convey this message to his constituents. I think it is high time they got rid of the reactionary landlords who have claimed it as a natural right to control the salmon fisheries and the land and exclude native born Highlanders from the right to enjoy and exploit their own resources. I should be glad to amplify that at a later time, and to put it in writing if the hon. and gallant Member would like to use it at the next election. There is one appeal I want to make, and I hope it will be reinforced by all hon. Members, whether they are for or against this scheme. It is that hydro-electrical development should be fitted into a general plan for the rehabilitation and restoration of the economic life of the Highlands.
It is important that this new Socialist Government should not rest in the romantic valley of vision, but should make some effort, however arduous, to climb to, at least, the foothills of practical achievement. We shall have time to do it, and all our support is in the faith that they will do it, and I will tonight, with certain already well-known reservations, give them my support for this scheme, believing that this electricity—I was about to say, hopefully, this cheap and plentiful electricity—is absolutely essential to all the new industry we expect to see in the North. It will be a blessing when we can supply the domestic users with electricity, so that I shall see, before I leave this House, the time when it is not necessary for women in the Western Isles to go out cutting peat and carting it home—a burdensome and primitive toil—in order to get fuel for their homes.
I hope to see the day when the people of the Western Isles will no longer have to use paraffin lamps, with all their dirtiness and expense and danger of fire, especially to children. I want to see pass the days when they live in the primitive conditions in which hon. Members opposite have allowed and compelled so many of our people to live for generations past. I do not want to see the Highlands despoiled—I do not think I shall see them despoiled—but I do not want to see Highlanders exported like the "wind and water" of the hon. Member for South Edinburgh. There is one other export industry in which we have always excelled—the export of our finest citizens 2239 between the wars that the Tory Party by their foreign policy have brought upon the people they ignored in their domestic policy. I agree with the Irish poet who said:No Irish sign we would efface But yet our lips would gladlier hail The first-born of the coming race Than the last splendour of the Gael.So might a Highland poet also have said, revering the best of the past; but, looking to the more hopeful future. More hopeful, because, it is not the last splendour of the Gael. It is their first opportunity to show their real latent splendour. If the Government rise to the occasion, I hope to see our people living again, and content to live, in their own land, bringing up their children, with opportunity for work, and for leisure, and, at least, some reasonable pleasure; with a little time, perhaps, to look to those things of the spirit which are as important as the endless striving for the daily bread which alone is not the full life. I look forward to the day when our Highlanders will be able to lift their eyes to their own Highland hills and our Islesmen look across the old Deucaledonian Sea with a dignity born of earned independence; no longer ill-governed and forced in idleness to depend on miscalled "doles" and the public assistance which reactionary Governments and county councils may care to give them at the humiliating assessment of human worth of 5s. per child per week.
§ 10.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart (Fife, East)
I observed that the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. MacMillan) indicated that he proposed to support the scheme with certain definite reservations. It is a pity the House did not receive an inkling of the nature of those reservations, because I feel that if the hon. Member had been frank, he would have shown the House that the fundamental weakness of this scheme is that it is not going to give him the amenities which he described. The hon. Member nods his head.
§ Mr. Stewart
Then why did the hon. Member nod his head? Apparently, he had second thoughts. At first he thought he agreed with me, but then he remembered that the Whips are on. The hon. 2240 Member and I have this in common. On 30th March of this year, he and his hon. Friend the Member for Dumbartonshire (Mr. McKinlay), and two hon. Members on this side, put down another Prayer to annul the first scheme introduced by this Board. Therefore, let the House understand—and particularly new Members—that it is not anew thing, nor apparently a reactionary thing, to pray that a scheme from this Board should be annulled. The first initiative in that direction was taken by the Labour Party, and for a very good reason. The only difference was that the hon. Member for Dumbartonshire made an arrangement, very adequately, behind the Chair with the Secretary of State, and it did not come to a debate, but he intended it to come to a debate and he invited us to help him, and I should have helped if it had come to a debate, because the case he had to make against the Board was a very good one.
§ Mr. Stewart
If they would capitulate now, there would be no need for a Division. All those who have supported Prayers against this Board are right and they will always be right. May I endeavour now to sum up the main points at issue, apart altogether from discussions on amenities and fishing rights? For my part I confess that these two questions have not impressed me as much as the real issue with which we are concerned. Amenities are not the real fundamental objectives in this case.
I want the House to face all the facts, this hydro-electricity scheme is based upon the 1943 Act, and I think hon. Members who are new to the House, should give me their attention for a moment or two. When the 1943 Act was introduced by Mr. Tom Johnston, it was submitted primarily as a scheme to develop the Scottish Highlands. If the House desired it I could quote half a dozen extracts to confirm that statement. He said on 24th February that the Council of State had unanimously agreed to an authoritative inquiry into how the great hydro-electric power of the Highlands could be used for the benefit of the Highlands. In the course of the discussion on that Bill these words "for the benefit of the Highlands" were repeated again and 2241 again. This is not a matter of providing electricity for Great Britain. There are other schemes, other Measures, other occasions on which this House could regard the general problem of electricity supply, but to regard the Highland Electricity Board, specially created by Mr. Tom Johnston, merely as another power station for the Central Electricity Board, is an insult to this House and to the Highlands, and I should regard it as an insult to Mr. Tom Johnston himself if it were so suggested.
This is a scheme for the Highlands, and for this reason I beg the House to consider the scheme as it stands. If there is any doubt about it I beg them to look at the Act. Section 2 states that the duties of the new Board are:to provide the electricity required to meet the demands of ordinary consumers—like the constituents of the hon. Member for the Western Isles. That is the first task. The second task was to provide electricity for authorised undertakers and the third to provide supplies for the large users. Mr. Tom Johnston told us about the great electric chemical industries he hoped to bring in, and spoke of the great hopes he had that the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society would come in. Where are they? Is there any sign of any great industry having come in or having sought to come in? What was the second provision? I ask the House to ponder over the words in Section 2 (d):It shall be the duty of the Board to give priority to the demands of the consumers and authorised undertakers mentioned above over all other demands for the electricity generated by them.If this Board in this present No. 2 construction scheme, were doing that, there would be no Prayer for annulment. It is because they are doing the very opposite, that we are praying and, I hope, praying successfully, against the Order. The hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Cook), who claimed that the numbers of signatures were large, apparently does not know what pressure has been brought to bear on us and the thousands of letters we have had.
§ Mr. Stewart
I must leave the hon. Member to settle with his own constituents.
2242 How are these duties being performed? The Board has put forward two schemes so far—Loch Sloy and this one. What was the Loch Sloy scheme? Ninety per cent. of the total electricity to be generated under that scheme goes to the Central Electricity Board. There is nothing there for the hon. Member for the Western Isles nor for the hon. and gallant Member for Argyll (Major McCallum). There is nothing there for the private consumer. The crofter, the small industry or large industry has nothing to meet the first three duties imposed on the Board by this Act. Where is the electricity produced by this No. 2 scheme going? Ninety per cent. again is going to the Central Electricity Board. There is a little tit-bit thrown in,340 houses in Gairloch to be supplied by the Board. Some £6,000,000 is to be spent on an electricity scheme and the sop to us is of 340 houses in Gairloch. It is an insult to the Highlands and a fraud on the people who believe in this scheme.
The Board themselves do not claim that there is going to be any great advantage to the people. According to the Cameron report, this particular scheme, this Tummel-Garry scheme, is going to lift a profit of £28,000 and that £28,000 is to provide the subsidy to supply electricity to 1,500 people in the West. There is something "phoney" about this. That is what the Cameron report says but Lord Airlie has a different figure. He says that the profits of the scheme will meet one-third of the cost of all uneconomic schemes. We are told that the uneconomic schemes are going to cost £127,000, so Lord Airlie's figure is £90,000, not £28,000. We are a little disturbed and, I am bound to say, a little suspicious, about these contradictions.
Why do they give this supply to the Central Electricity Board? Two reasons are given. The first is that the Central Electricity Board is in urgent need of electricity. The same reason was given in the Loch Sloy scheme; the same reason is given now, and I predict with confidence that in every scheme in the next ten years the same reason will be given—"Sorry, Highlands, you will have to wait a little longer." The second reason is that they have first got to pay their way. I am sorry the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr. Reid) said—although I notice he withdrew it 2243 afterwards—that before the Board could start on its big work it had to pay its way with a profit. But he had no right to say that. On the contrary, Mr. Tom Johnston repeated, time after time, that the first task of the Board was to meet these uneconomic cases, these difficult cases, these houses, crofts, and areas—the main big areas that needed it; and afterwards, or at the most, simultaneously the Board should provide for the larger profit-making sales. There is not a word in the Act to the effect that the Board should first pay its way in this manner. Why is this Board so timorous? It has a Treasury guarantee of £30,000,000. It has the support of this House and of the whole country in going ahead with its plans. It has a ten-years' accounting period. It could afford to make a loss for five, six, seven, eight years without a criticism from anyone. Why does it not face the task of bringing light, power and heat into thousands and thousands of Highland homes that so badly need them? Their timidity in that direction is only equalled by their docile submission to the Electricity Commissioners in other directions.
When I read the report of the Cameron committee, and see precisely what the influence of the Electricity Commissioners is I am not shocked or surprised. I just say to myself with justification, "I warned the House about this in 1943; I warned the House on Clause after Clause in the Committee stage; I opposed the Second Reading of the Bill, on the very ground that this Board was dominated by the Central Electricity Board and the Electricity Commissioners. "I said—my words are on record—that the power lay not in the Highlands but in London. Is it not so? The Cameron report tells us about it—no appeal lies against the decision of the Electricity Commissioners by the Board; the veto of the Commissioners can control the whole development policy of the Hydro-Electric Board. According to the evidence of this impartial committee the Board is completely under the domination of the Commissioners in London. I cannot help saying I am ashamed of Lord Airlie—who bears a great name—that he does not resign his office now, in view of the pressure put upon the Board. Had he taken his courage in his hands as he has done in the past and said openly— [Interrup- 2244 tion.] I am glad he is here. Had he stated publicly that his duties could not be performed because of the excessive pressure of the Electricity Commissioners the whole House would have supported him. I invite him to take that step now—and his colleagues.
I remember that in the earlier Debate the present Joint Under-Secretary was one of those who appealed to the Secretary of State on behalf of the unimportant ordinary consumers. It was the hon. Gentleman himself who, in a rather interesting passage gave the history of his own experience. He sat upon the Commission dealing with one of the private enterprise schemes—and he, like myself, has supported all the schemes that have come before the House in days gone by on the grounds that Scotland needed them. It will be very interesting for the House to recollect what the hon. Gentleman, who is going to reply to this Debate, said when the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Bill is under discussion. He said:When I was on a committee discussing this Measure in Edinburgh one of the constant criticisms was that there was no provision for making electricity available to the humbler members of the community, and those separated by a long distance from the source of power. I must say that the original Bill"—that is the private enterprise Billwhich the House did not pass, carried better guarantees than this Bill, for the supply of electricity to those whom it would be difficult to supply.There was an Amendment to strike out the words "so far as practicable" from the Bill, so as to make it obligatory on the Board to provide those private consumers and small industries. On that occasion the hon. Gentleman the present Undersecretary said:I ask the Committee to look at this Amendment as a practical business proposition. What will happen here? The Board will not do anything but run electricity to pay. It is the natural thing to want to show the best possible balance sheet, and we should try to keep them from doing it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th May, 1943, V. 389, c. 222.]I hope the hon. Gentleman still says so. I am trying to prevent their running this purely as a matter of a business balance-sheet. I am appealing on behalf of those ordinary folk in the Highlands who expect this Bill to give them light and heat and warmth, but who have been defrauded. This is a test 2245 case. If we pass this particular scheme, and in so doing give our approval to this domination by the Electricity Commissioners of the activities of the Board, I am certain that it will be regarded as a precedent, and will be followed, in scheme after scheme. The Board will go on seeking for profitable schemes, will go on submitting to the demands of the Central Board for more power; and the cause of the Highland folk will go on being neglected. I have supported every scheme in the past, but this scheme is not going to meet their needs, and I oppose it for that reason.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Buchanan) rose—
§ Mr. McAllister (Rutherglen)
On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker; is it the intention that the speech by the hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Scotland, shall conclude this Debate?
§ 10.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Buchanan
I thought this was not an inconvenient time for me to intervene on this question. This is not unlike our Private Billprocedure, under which the time allowed for Debate is, roughly speaking, three hours. On this matter we have gone now at least half-an-hour longer, and I thought, in view of general Parliamentary procedure, as I was probably the last Government speaker, it would not be unfair to keep to the standard time appointed in pre-1939 days, for Debates of this kind.
May I say this to the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Stewart) that what he has been attacking has not been the scheme. What he has been attacking has been the legislation that empowered the scheme to be made, and it is not to that that I would address myself tonight. Tonight we are not discussing the Board and its make-up. Tonight we are discussing a certain scheme that has been put on the Table for the approval or disapproval of this House.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
On a point of Order. With great respect, the hon. Member must know that the criticisms that I was making were based on the report of the Cameron Committee which dealt with this scheme.
§ Mr. Buchanan
The point that the hon. Member was attacking all along was that this Board was the servant of the Electricity Commissioners. As a matter of fact, he and I sat at the time on the Glen Affric scheme. I do not make the slightest complaint of what he has said. I am an old Parliamentarian and when a man says that I am dishonest, I do not take exception to that. I have trained myself long ago to take all these things as they come without grumbling about it. But the hon. Member for East Fife came pretty near to that tonight. I am not grumbling; all I say is that if this had been a private enterprise scheme tonight, he would have backed it. I do not intend to say one word more about that. What I would like to say is that the House is made up, to some extent, of hon. Members who are comparatively new and who do not know the history of this Measure. It so happens that I was involved to this extent with the hon. and gallant Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir B. Neven-Spence) to whom I paid the compliment of saying that he was a first-class chairman of that committee. He and I sat on what was called the Glen Affric scheme and on that I took a stand not against the scheme but against a private company having the right to hold any part of the Highlands for their own particular development. I took the view that the Highlands should not be treated in isolated parts and developed by a private company but should be taken as a whole.
I came to this House tonight looking for my past to be laid bare. I expected the hon. Member to find some small passage to quote against me. I congratulate him, because it was like the first time I went to the polls. I wondered about my character and whether it would be said that I was really as bad as I seemed to be. The House of Commons discussed the Glen Affric scheme on a Friday afternoon and took the view that the whole thing should be dropped for the time being. The then Secretary of State for Scotland appointed a Committee presided over by one who the then Lord Advocate would agree is as distinguished a member of his profession as there has been in Scotland for some time—Lord Cooper. He was appointed chairman of the Committee with colleagues none of whom I think—there is one exception—belonged to the party to which I belong. After examining the 2247 question, they recommended legislation and the setting up of this particular Board. That was the Cooper Committee and following on that Committee Mr. Tom Johnston intimated, that he proposed to give effect to the Cooper committee report at once. What was the result? Colonel Walter Elliot got up and said with effect: Press on with this legislation at once, and the whole of Scotland will be behind you. What are we told now—that the whole of Scotland, or at least some signatories, are against us. The facts are that the report was pressed on, and there followed a Bill, to which hon. Gentlemen gave a Second Reading. There was no Division. The hon. Gentleman did not vote against it, and the scheme went through unopposed.
§ Mr. H. Stewart
I put down an Amendment to reject the Bill and spoke on it, and if I could have got some support for it I would have voted against the Bill.
§ Mr. Buchanan
The fact remains that there was no Division and that the hon. Member did not vote against it.
§ Mr. Keeling (Twickenham)
May I remind the Under-Secretary that one of the reasons why that Bill was unopposed was the solemn assurance given by the Secretary of State that the recommendations of the Amenity Committee would be attended to.
§ Mr. Buchanan
I will take that in its turn and deal with King Charles' head. This is the history of the scheme. The Bill was brought in and it has now become an operative Act. Whatever the hon. Member for East Fife may say, hon. Gentlemen opposite backed the Bill as much as I did. Following on that the Board was set up and so far as my recollection goes every member of the Board, with one exception, was non-political. I would add that when someone says to me that he has no politics that usually means he is voting against me. Anyway the Board was selected, and so far as I know none of them belonged to my party. After a careful survey the Loch Sloy scheme was proposed, and now there is what is known as the No. 2 Scheme. Here may I interpose that it is sometimes said that this Board has no regard for the welfare of the Highlands, and that all they are concerned 2248 with is the export of electricity to the South. That is not quite true and it is not painting anything like a correct picture. Apart from these schemes the Board has gone to South Uist and established a Diesel station for the development of the seaweed industry in that part of the country. They have been making a survey in the Highlands and if the hon. and gallant Member for Pollok (Commander Galbraith) had read the answer given to the hon. and gallant Member for Orkney and Shetland, and the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. MacMillan), he would have had a complete answer to the question of what the Board was doing and intended to do for the development of electricity in the Highlands. Hon. Members have also spoken about amenities and fishing and the like, and about the setting up of the Amenity Committee and the Fisheries Committee. The Amenity Committee decided by three votes to two—
§ Mr. Buchanan
It was decided by three votes to two. The hon. Member for West Perth (Mr. Snadden) may have other views, but that is the position. The Amenity Committee were three for, and two against.
§ Mr. Buchanan
Quite frankly, he has always said a majority. Yes, but the public always get to know the size of the majority so that they can put a decent judgment on it. It is quite true that much depends on the angle from which one looks at it. Amenity will be interfered with to some extent; no one denies it. It is true we interfere with a sports ground and it is claimed that the sports ground was a very essential thing for Highland games there, but the Board is giving an equally good sports ground, a sports ground in some ways as well equipped for this purpose as the original sports ground was. It is true we are interfering with a bridge called the Clunie Bridge. Difference of opinion may arise whether it is an amenity or not. I reject the idea that modern men cannot build a better bridge than was built 100 years ago. Those who claim to be expert say that the siting of the new bridge, far from taking away from the scenery will add power and glory to it.
§ Mr. Buchanan
Allow me to mention it in passing too. I remember the Galloway Scheme in this House when, I was a young man and everything said about the Galloway Scheme was much the same as has been said about this scheme tonight—scenery, fish and everything else. May I say to the hon. and gallant Member for Pollok—a member of a distinguished profession usually known for accuracy in figures—that he really should check his figures about fishing. He said 2,000 men were involved. Two thousand men are involved, but that is in the whole of Scotland, not in this scheme.
§ Commander Galbraith
Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to look up the speech made by the former Secretary of State for Scotland. I quoted the figures he actually gave in his speech and took them as having been given from the Scottish Office as being accurate.
§ Mr. Buchanan
I have checked up closely and as a matter of fact the hon. Member for West Perth in his speech mentioned several hundreds. The figure I have got from the Fishery Board comes nearer 300; the figure of 2,000 is for the whole of Scotland. It becomes a question of whether fishing is to be interfered with and some people take the view that in a year or two the fishing will be better and spawning grounds will be improved. But if that were not so, this is not the overriding consideration in the scheme.
If you are going to leave it to amenity committees it is good-bye to getting any electricity in Scotland, because amenity committees as such will decide against every scheme. One of the arguments put tonight is that we ought to have examined other schemes. Take the Glen Affric scheme. If we were deciding that on amenity tonight it would go west. An amenity committee almost always gives evidence against a scheme. Local authorities always prefer a scheme outside their area. The Committees are advisory bodies giving advice to a Board and to the Government. I would agree with the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr. Reid) that they are not substitutes for the Government.
Now about the £28,000. The facts are as follows. I was asked the Question, and I gave the answer and now repeat it, 2250 though I was wrong by £1,000 and had better correct myself, that £86,000 was the actual estimated profit from the scheme, providing the price of coal remained at 35s. a ton. Now it is 42s. £86,000 is the figure they have set aside. Of that £28,000 is to be used for a partial development of the Highlands. The balance will be used for the establishment of a grid throughout the Highlands, and so the whole £86,000 will be used in full for the Highland development of electric power. The Board under Statute must use every penny piece of the balance. After they have paid the normal charges, they must put every penny back for the purpose of electricity elsewhere. The hon. Member for East Fife says this Board does not need to pay its way. Others ask about Government subsidy.
The facts are that the House of Commons for good or ill—the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead was quite right—rejected every form of State subsidy for this Board. It is no use men coming here and pleading for a form of State subsidy. If I asked for one they would tell me to do something else. The only reason for this is, instead of frontally opposing the Bill to make an excuse for getting out of it. The Board must balance its budget and, indeed, no State subvention is allowed. It is true they can undertake schemes, as they will, that will show a loss. The cost must be met out of the profits of some other scheme, but not at once I agree with the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. Macmillan). I hope this Board is going to take on a large number of schemes that will never pay. The only way they can do that is by taking within their compass a scheme that will give them a considerable profit. Why did they select this scheme? The scheme has the merit, and I admit it quite frankly, of being the best profit-making scheme of all. I must say that I cannot feel this terrible anger about exporting electricity. What have the hon. Gentlemen opposite been calling for? Export trade. But when I suggest that some electricity may be exported from Scotland to England the hon. Gentlemen get heated up. If I suggest exporting to Sweden some other goods, like engineering goods, that is fine; but I must not touch electricity. Really, that is a ridiculous state of things.
What is the position? The facts are that the Board was criticised on the 2251 export of electricity to England. Well, I must confess that I cannot follow the argument. As a matter of fact, the Board will not require to export one unit to England. Indeed, the demand for electricity in Scotland alone, and particularly in Central Scotland, is now pressing on the Board so much that by the time this scheme is estimated to get into working order, the full production, indeed every unit to spare, will be taken up in Scotland itself.
What are the other demands on the Board? One is to supply the Grampian Electricity Company, the private enterprise company—which will please the hon. Gentleman opposite. Who gets the benefit of that? The Grampian Electricity Company is the supplying company for Pitlochry and district. The sale of electricity to that company means that the residents in that district thereby benefit. The third customer is the town council of Aberdeen. First there is the Central Electricity Board; secondly, the Grampian Electricity Company which supplies the people living in Pitlochry, and lastly the town council of Aberdeen—the whole of the power sold within Scotland and distributed there.
In my Parliamentary career I have had many doubts about votes which I have given. I do not know whether I am like other people or not, but many times I have given a vote and wondered whether I had done right. But I have examined this thing freely and closely, and I say this: Scotland has a future. Scotland cannot depend on an industry like salmon fishing, although I appreciate the employment of even 300 men. But if we are to get progress in the Highlands it must not be by the employment of 300 people in salmon fishing. That is a doubtful quantity which must not stop the development of the Highlands. We cannot allow even the extremely doubtful interference with the amenities to stop the development of this country. I say, with some knowledge of amenities, that I am perfectly convinced that this scheme, when it is properly developed, will be far from wasting the amenities. When this scheme is fitted in with its engineering projects, its marshalling of water-power, this unique achievement, far from being a thing which will trouble people, will be an asset to the Scot, with his engineering knowledge.
2252 I say frankly that from the amenity angle I think this scheme fulfils its purpose. If you are going to develop Scotland this scheme must be got on with, because on it depends every other scheme in the North of Scotland. If this scheme is to be self-supporting and if it is to be a financial success, that can only be so if it can render a fairly reasonable profit. It is very much like the Post Office. After all the Post Office delivers letters in the humblest part of Scotland for 2½d., just as it does in the City of London. It can only do that because it makes a handsome profit out of Londoners, and this Board by the handsome profit it will make by distributing electricity to the Lowlands, will be acting in the same way. We believe now that there will be developed in the Midlands great extensions of the iron works. Electric power will be needed; coal is not going to give that power. Do what you like, power must be got from some other source, and I say for the wellbeing of Scotland that electricity should be developed. I do not want to see the wholesale destruction of all the nice things of the country. I want to see them preserved. I have seen the Board and impressed upon them that, so far as I have the power, I will not allow them needlessly to interfere with the amenities. I will watch and control them. I want to say frankly that the Secretary of State for Scotland agrees to exercise his powers with this Board in every possible way. So far as I am concerned, using power and persuasion in every possible way, I will not allow them to despoil my native country needlessly. But I do not take the view that the development and organisation of power will lead to this spoliation. It has not meant this in other countries.
The hon. and gallant Member for Pollok spoke about machinery. I would tell him that I have been in touch with the Board, and I find it is impossible to get certain classes of machinery in Scotland. Nobody makes it. But the first turbines for this scheme are to be made within the shipbuilding firm of Messrs. John Brown. I welcome that for this reason; I do not want the Clyde and my native city to be limited to shipbuilding. I welcome Brown's going into turbines and alternative work. The Board are ordering two turbines—I know this is not a great contract—from Messrs. John 2253 Brawn's. It is not a big thing but it marks the beginning at least of something which will be to the benefit of our Scottish community.
It would be discourteous, if I concluded, without congratulating—I should have done it earlier—the hon. Members who have made maiden speeches during this Debate. I welcome them because I am a Scot and I think that the standard of Scottish Debates is very high. Taking the scheme as a whole I say it is a step forward in a programme which will ultimately bring happiness and I think some form of security to the Highlands. It is a short step but it is a step towards that desirable end, and I trust that the Government will have the approval of the House in this matter. The right hon. and learned member for Hillhead raised the question of a free vote. May I say to him as an old, astute Parliamentarian, that he ought not to try this on me in this way. I think my Scottish opponents are getting into the frame of mind of thinking me too simple. The facts are that the Secretary of State for Scotland signed the Order. If it were voted against, it must inevitably, mean
§ that resignation of the Secretary of State. [Interruption.] Oh yes, every Parliamentarian knows that would be the result on what we are now discussing. I see the hon. and gallant Member for Partick (Sir A. Young) opposite me. He is an old campaigner and an old Whip who knows that if the facts had been the same on his side, only one thing could have been done, he would have had the Whips on. I am saying no more and no less than this. The Government stand or fall by this measure. We think it is a decent measure and a measure on which in years to come, this House of Commons far from being ashamed may be proud of the action it has taken.
§ Colonel Thornton-Kemsley (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Western) rose—
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Whiteley) rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 248; Noes, 63.2255
|Division No. 18.]||AYES.||[11.25 p.m.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Clitherow, R.||Gibson, C. W.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Coldrick, W.||Gooch, E. G.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Collick, P.||Gordon-Walker, P. G.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Colman, Miss G. M.||Grey, C. F.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Comyns, Dr. L.||Grierson, E.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Cook, T. F.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)|
|Austin, H. L.||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camberwell, N.W.)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Corlett, Dr. J.||Griffiths, Capt. W. D. (Moss Side)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Crawley, Flt.-Lieut. A.||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Hardman, D. R.|
|Baird, Capt. J.||Daggar, G.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville|
|Balfour, A.||Daines, P.||Haworth, J.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Davies Edward (Burslem)||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)|
|Barton, C.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)|
|Battley, J. R.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Beattie, J. (Belfast, W.)||Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Hewitson, Captain M.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Hobson, C. R.|
|Belcher, J. W.||Deer, G.||Hogg, Hon. Q.|
|Berry, H.||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Holman, P.|
|Bing, Capt. G. H. C.||Delargy, Captain H. J.||Horabin, T. L.|
|Blenkinsop, Capt. A.||Diamond, J.||House, G.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Donovan, T.||Hoy, J.|
|Boardman, H.||Douglas, F. C. R.||Hubbard, T.|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Driberg, T. E. N.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W||Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Bowen, R.||Dye, S.||Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lhampton, W.)|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge)||Edwards, John (Blackburn).||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Janner, B.|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Ewart, R.||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Farthing, W. J.||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)|
|Buchanan, G.||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Jones, J. H. (Bolton)|
|Burden, T. W.||Foot, M. M.||Jones, Maj. P. Asterley (Hitchin)|
|Burke, W. A.||Foster, W. (Wigan)||Keenan, W.|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Kenyon, G.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)||King, E. M.|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Gaitskell, H. T. N.||Kinley, J.|
|Champion, A. J.||Gallacher, W.||Kirby, B. V.|
|Chetwynd, Capt. G. R.||Gibbins, J.||Lang, G.|
|Lavers, S.||Paget, R. T.||Stross, Dr. B.|
|Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)||Sunderland, J. W.|
|Lee, F. (Hulme)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Swingler, Capt. S.|
|Leonard, W.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Symonds, Maj. A. L.|
|Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Pargiter, G. A.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Lipson, D. L.||Pearson, A.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Peart, Capt. T. F.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Little, Dr. J.||Perrins, W.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Logan, D. G.||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. G. R. (E'b'gh, E.)|
|Longden, F.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Thorneycroft, H.|
|Lyne, A. W.||Prescott, Capt. W. R. S.||Timmons, J.|
|McAllister, G.||Pritt, D. N.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Proctor, W. T.||Usborne, H. C.|
|McGhee, H. G.||Pryde, D. J.||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|Mack, J. D.||Randall, H. E.||Walkden, E.|
|McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Reeves, J.||Walker, G. H.|
|McKinlay, A. S.||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Maclean, N. (Govan)||Rhodes, H.||Watson, W. M.|
|McLeavy, F.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|MacMillan, M. K.||Roberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire)||Wells, Maj. W. T. (Walsall)|
|Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Mann, Mrs. J.||Rogers, G. H. R.||Wigg, G. E. C.|
|Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Royle, C.||Wilkes, Maj. L.|
|Marshall, F. (Brightside)||Scollan, T.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Medland, H. M.||Segal, Sq. Ldr. S.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Messer, F.||Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Middleton, Mrs. L.||Shawcross, Cmdr. C. N. (Widnes)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Mikardo, Ian||Shurmer, P.||Williams, Rt. Hon. E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Mitchison, Maj. G. R||Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Monslow, W.||Simmons, C. J.||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Montague, F.||Skinnard, F. W.||Williamson, T.|
|Moody, A. S.||Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)||Willis, E.|
|Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Morley, R.||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)||Wilson, J. H.|
|Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Smith, T. (Normanton)||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Mort, D. L.||Snow, Capt. J. W.||Woodburn, A.|
|Moyle, A.||Sorensen, R. W.||Wyatt, Maj. W.|
|Murray, J. D.||Stamford, W.||Yates, V. F.|
|Nally, W.||Steele, T.|
|Neal, H. (Claycross)||Stephen, C.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—|
|O'Brien, T.||Stewart, Capt. M. (Fulham)||Mr. Mathers and|
|Oliver, G. H.||Stokes, R. R.||Mr. Collindridge.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Haughton, Maj. S. G.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Beattie, F. (Cathcart)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Ross, Sir R.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Hollis, Sqn.-Ldr. M. C.||Scott, Lord W.|
|Boothby, R.||Hope, Lt.-Col. Lord J.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hurd, A.||Spence, Mai, H. R.|
|Bower, N.||Hutchison, Lt.-Cdr. Clark (Edin'gh, W.)||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A.||Jennings, R.||Stoddart-Scott, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon. L. W.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Challen, Flt.-Lieut. C.||Keeling, E. H.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Linstead, H. N.||Thorpe, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.|
|Darling, Sir W. Y.||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Turton, R. H.|
|Dodds-Parker, Col. A. D.||Lloyd, Brig. J. S. B. (Wirral)||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||McCallum, Maj. D.||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)||McGovern, J.||Wheatley, Lt.-Col. M. J.|
|Drewe, C.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Erroll, Col. F. J.||Marples, Capt. A. E.||York, C.|
|Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)||Mellor, Sir J.||Young, Maj. Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D.||Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Neven-Spence, Major Sir B.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—|
|Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)||Mr. Snadden and Colonel Gomme Duncan.|
§ Question put accordingly,
§ "That the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board—Constructional Scheme No. 2 Confirmation Order, 1945, dated 22nd August, 1945, made under the Hydro-Electric Devel- 2256 opment (Scotland) Act, 1943, a copy of which Order was presented on 23rd August, be annulled."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 45; Noes, 263.2259
|Division No. 19.]||AYES.||[11.35 p.m.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Scott, Lord W.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Haughton, Maj. S. G.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Spence, Maj. H. R.|
|Bower, N.||Hollis, Sqn.-Ldr. M. C.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Maj. J. A.||Hope, Lt.-Col. Lord J.||Stoddart-Scott, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Bromley-Davenport, LI.-Col. W.||Hurd, A.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Challen, Flt.-Lieut. C.||Hutchison, Lt.-Cdr. Clark (Edin'gh, W.)||Studholme, H. G.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Jennings, R.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Joynson-Hicks, Lt.-Cdr. Hon. L. W.||Turton, R. H.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Keeling, E. H.||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Darling, Sir W. Y.||Lindsay, Lt.-Col. M. (Solihull)||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Dodds-Parker, Col. A. D.||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Wheatley, Lt.-Col. M. J.|
|Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Lloyd, Brig. J. S. B. (Wirral)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Drewe, G.||Mellor, Sir J.|
|Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)||Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—|
|Galbraith, Comdr. T. D.||Ross, Sir R.||Mr. Snadden and Colonel Gomme-Duncan.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Diamond, J.||Lavers, S.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosforth)||Donovan, T.||Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Douglas, F. C. R.||Lee, F. (Hulme)|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)||Leonard, W.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Driberg, T. E. N.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)|
|Attewell, H. C.||Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Austin, H. L.||Duthie, W. S.||Linstead, H. N.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Dye, S.||Lipson, D. L.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Edwards, John (Blackburn).||Little, Dr. J.|
|Baird, Capt. J.||Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)||Logan, D. G.|
|Balfour, A.||Erroll, Col. F. J.||Longden, F.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Lyne, A. W.|
|Barton, C.||Ewart, R.||McAllister, G.|
|Battley, J. R.||Farthing, W. J.||McCallum, Maj. D.|
|Beattie, F. (Cathcart)||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||McEntee, V. La T.|
|Beattie, J. (Belfast, W.)||Foot, M. M.||McGhee, H. G.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Foster, W. (Wigan)||McGovern, J.|
|Belcher, J. W.||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Mack, J. D.|
|Berry, H.||Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)|
|Bing, Capt. G. H. C.||Gaitskell, H. T. N.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Blenkinsop, Capt. A.||Gallacher, W.||McKinlay, A. S.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Gibbins, J.||Maclean, N. (Govan)|
|Boardman, H.||Gibson, C. W.||McLeavy, F.|
|Boothby, R.||Gooch, E. G.||MacMillan, M. K.|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Gordon-Walker, P. G.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.||Grierson, E.||Mallalieu, J. P. W.|
|Bowen, R.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Mann, Mrs. J.|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'p'l, Exch'ge)||Hall, W. G. (Colne Valley)||Marples, Capt. A. E.|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Marshall, F. (Brightside)|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Hardman, D. R.||Medland, H. M.|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Messer, F.|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Haworth, J.||Middleton, Mrs. L.|
|Buchanan, G.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Burden, T. W.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Mitchison, Maj. G. R.|
|Burke, W. A.||Herbison, Miss M.||Monslow, W.|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Hewitson, Captain M.||Montague, F.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hobson, C. R.||Moody, A. S.|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Champion, A. J.||Holman, P.||Morley, R.|
|Chetwynd, Capt. G. R.||Horabin, T. L.||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)|
|Clitherow, R.||House, G.||Mort, D. L.|
|Coldrick, W.||Hoy, J.||Moyle, A.|
|Collick, P.||Hubbard, T.||Murray, J. D.|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Nally, W.|
|Comyns, Dr. L.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Neal, H. (Claycross)|
|Cook, T. F.||Hughes, Lt. H. D. (W'lhampton, W.)||Neven-Spence, Major Sir B.|
|Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||O'Brien, T.|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Crawley, Flt.-Lieut. A.||Isaacs, Rt Hon. G. A.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Janner, B.||Paget, R. T.|
|Daggar, G.||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)|
|Daines, P.||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Jones, Maj. P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Keenan, W.||Parkin, Flt.-Lieut. B. T.|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Kenyan, C.||Pearson, A.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||King, E. M.||Peart, Capt. T. F.|
|Deer, G.||Kinley, J.||Perrins, W.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Kirby, B. V.||Porter, E. (Warrington)|
|Delargy, Captain H. J.||Lang, G.||Porter, G. (Leeds)|
|Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.||Smith, T. (Normanton)||Watson, W. M.|
|Pritt, D. N.||Snow, Capt. J. W.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Proctor, W. T.||Sorensen, R. W.||Wells, Maj. W. T. (Walsall)|
|Pryde, D. J.||Stamford, W.||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Randall, H. E.||Steele, T.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Reeves, J.||Stephen, C.||Wigg, G. E. C.|
|Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillsend)||Stewart, Capt. M. (Fulham)||Wilkes, Maj. L.|
|Reid, T. (Swindon)||Stokes, R. R.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Rhodes, H.||Stross, Dr. B.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||Sunderland, J. W.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Roberts, G. O. (Caernarvonshire)||Swingler, Capt. S.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||Symonds, Maj. A. L.||Williams, Rt. Hon. E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Rogers, G. H. R.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Ropner, Col. L.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)||Williamson, T.|
|Royle, C.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)||Willis, E.|
|Scollan, T.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Segal, Sq. Ldr. S.||Thomson, Rt. Hon. G. R. (E'b'gh, E.)||Wilson, J. H.|
|Sharp, Lt.-Col. G. M.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P.||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Shawcross, Cmdr. C. N. (Widnes)||Thorneycroft, H.||Woodburn, A.|
|Shurmer, P.||Timmons, J.||Wyatt, Maj. W.|
|Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.||Yates, V. F.|
|Simmons, C. J.||Usborne, H. C.||Young, Maj. Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Skinnard, F. W.||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|Smith, Capt. C. (Colchester)||Walkden, E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke)||Walker, G. H.||Mr. Mathers and Mr. Collindridge.|
|Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)||Watkins, T. E.|
§ Resolved: "That this House do now adjourn."—[Mr. Pearson.]2260
§ Adjourned accordingly at a Quarter to Twelve o'Clock.