§ 10. Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will introduce legislation to undertake the large-scale drainage work which is needed in Scotland.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. McNair Snadden)
My right hon. Friend is anxious to introduce legislation at the earliest possible moment, but this subject has proved to be extremely complex and he cannot commit himself to a date at present.
§ Lord Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton
Cannot we get a move on with this long overdue task? In the meantime, is it not 786 difficult to convince visiting foreigners that we are in earnest about home produced food supplies when they can see from the road or the rail, as they can in the Spey Valley, thousands of acres of land which are unproductive for want of drainage schemes?
§ Mr. Snadden
I am well aware of conditions in the Spey Valley which I toured last autumn, but I should like my noble Friend to realise that such questions as betterment and maintenance are extremely complicated and previous legislation has proved to be defective in those two respects. We are most anxious that when the Bill is introduced it shall be an effective piece of legislation.
§ Mr. Manuel
Can the Joint Undersecretary tell us something about the difficulties which he says he is encountering? Many of us have written to him about constituency problems of periodic flooding each winter. In the Garnock Valley shops and houses are flooded each winter. When will his right hon. Friend take some definite steps within the Cabinet so that we may have a date when legislation will be brought forward?
§ Mr. Snadden
The difficulties with which we are confronted are not difficulties with the Cabinet or even with the Treasury. Our difficulty is to find a suitable code or formula to deal with such problems as betterment and maintenance. My right hon. Friend is only too anxious to have legislation, but we want to make quite certain that when it is presented to the House it will be effective and will not collapse.
§ Mr. N. Macpherson
Is my hon. Friend aware that it will be extremely difficult to get the agreement of all the parties concerned? Will he resolve not to be deterred by that consideration and to bring in the best available plan at the earliest possible moment?