§ 83. Mr. MUNRO
asked the Secretary for Scotland whether, in view of the slow progress made in Standing Committee with the Mental Deficiency and Lunacy (Scotland) Bill, and of the large number of Amendments to the Bill now on the Paper, it is his intention to secure the passage of the Bill this Session?
84 and 85. Mr. CATHCART WASON
asked the Secretary for Scotland (1) whether, in view of the opposition to the Mental Deficiency and Lunacy (Scotland) Bill and the fact that only one Clause has been passed in two protracted Sittings, the late period of the Session, and the importance of getting the Bill for dealing with the urgent necessities of the Highlands and Islands before the Scottish Committee, he will consider the postponement of the Mental Deficiency and Lunacy (Scotland) Bill until next Session; and (2) if he is aware that the town council of Lerwick unanimously support the views of the Convention of Royal Burghs, and are strongly opposed to the proposal of the Mental Deficiency and Lunacy (Scotland) Bill to transfer the control of lunatic asylums from existing boards of lunacy to district boards of control to be chosen by the chairman of the parish council and the chairman of the school board in each district; that they object to the alteration of lunacy rating, being convinced that the gross valuation basis of assessment has manifest advantages over the method proposed in the Bill; and that they strongly object to the stereotyped system of Grants provided by the Bill, and consider that a Grant equal to one-half the expenditure should be provided as in England; and if, under all the circumstances, and especially the fact that there has been no time to efficiently consider the Bill in the country and the dislike of Scotsmen to be bustled, he will consider postponing the Bill till next Session?
The SECRETARY for SCOTLAND (Mr. McKinnon Wood)
I am glad to say that all the deputations from the local authorities have expressed their approval of the Bill and their desire to see it passed into law, although they desired certain amendments. Of these, one of the most important has already been adopted by the Committee, and of the others I think most are susceptible to arrangement. There have only been three sittings of the Scottish Grand Committee this Session, during which the consideration of two Bills has been completed, and a large number of Amendments on the Mental Deficiency Bill have been disposed of. I can assure my hon. Friends that I entirey agree with them as to the necessity of passing the Bill dealing with medical service in the Highlands and Islands this Session. The Bill will soon be introduced, and as it is non-controversial I do not think it will occupy much of the time of the Committee. I calculate that we shall have as much time at our disposal as has been required for the consideration of the English Bill in Committee, and I hope, with the assistance of my colleagues, to secure for Scotland the beneficial legislation which is being secured for England.
Mr. C. WASON
In view of the importance of this Bill, to which I have referred, will the right hon. Gentleman secure that the Committee will devote a special day to this particularly in order to get it through at any rate?