HC Deb 14 July 1959 vol 609 cc193-4
18. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are his plans for assistance by schools in the 1959 potato harvest.

Mr. Maclay

I estimate that 12,000 exemptions should be sufficient in respect of the 1959 potato harvest compared with the 17,500 required last year.

Mr. Thomson

In view of the gradual run-down of the scheme, would the Secretary of State not now consider giving notice to the agricultural industry that it will be stopped within a definite period of years? In the meantime, will he not consider recommending to those authorities whom he compels to provide children that they should use school holidays rather than exemption, which does the maximum damage to the school curriculum?

Mr. Maclay

With regard to the first part of the supplementary question, I think it would be unwise to make a firm decision in advance of full knowledge of the conditions that have to be met in any particular area. The second part raises a very difficult question and would require very careful consideration.