§ 38. Mr. Woodburn
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what changes are being made in the distribution of responsibilities within his Departments; and whether, for the guidance of the public and hon. Members, he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Maclay
I have given a direction under the Reorganisation of Offices (Scotland) Act, 1939, making from 1st April, 1960, some changes in the distribution of functions within my four Departments.
The main effect is to transfer from the Scottish Home Department to the Department of Agriculture, which will in future be known as the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, functions relating to fisheries, fishery piers and harbours, steamer services and the Highlands, and to the Scottish Education Department functions relating to child care, adoption and remand homes.
The purpose is to secure a better distribution of the burden of work and the changes will have no effect on policy, for which I remain responsible. I shall, with permission, circulate full details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. Woodburn
We shall study these details but there is one point about which I am not clear. Is there any change being made regarding forestry? From what the right hon. Gentleman said, may I take it that there is no suggestion that forestry and agriculture are to come under one Ministry, because that would be bound to lead to trouble?
§ Mr. Maclay
I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has raised that important point. There is no intention of changing the present arrangements regarding forestry.
§ Following are the details:
- 1. The functions at present assigned to the Department of Agriculture for Scotland (except those referred to in paragraph 4) and the following functions at present assigned to the Scottish Home Department have been assigned
184 to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland. That is to say, functions relating to fisheries, fishery piers, harbours and dredging (except Provisional Orders under the Piers, Harbours and Ferries Acts): functions relating to steamer services in the Highlands and Islands: and general functions relating to the Highlands and Islands, including the provision of staff for the Advisory Panel on the Highlands and Islands. The same staff will continue to carry out the work, including the present Fisheries Secretary, who will continue to act in that capacity.
- 2. Functions relating to child care, adoption, remand homes, and the Physical Training and Recreation Act, 1937, at present exercised by the Scottish Home Department have been assigned to the Scottish Education Department.
- 3. Functions relating to coast protection and flood prevention, at present exercised by the Scottish Home Department, have been assigned to the Department of Health for Scotland.
- 4. Functions relating to township roads in the crofter counties and to improvement of roads in livestock rearing areas, at present exercised by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland, have been assigned to the Scottish Home Department.