HC Deb 07 February 1962 vol 653 cc416-7
25. Mr. Manuel

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many remand homes are not being fully utilised; and what accommodation exists in such homes that is not being used.

Mr. Maclay

All homes are fully used, but with a rapidly changing population any one may have many vacancies on any particular day.

Mr. Manuel

Is the Secretary of State aware that my information is that full use of accommodation at remand homes is quite uncertain? They are mostly homes covering a regional area. Would he not consider the concern of parents and probation officers and others because children, especially the first-offence cases, are being removed to Barlinnie and other prisons? Could he not examine the possibility of freezing some little accommodation in certain remand homes for use for this purpose till he gets his remand centres ready?

Mr. Maclay

I think the hon. Member will appreciate that freezing of any of this accommodation might not have the effect he desires, because the population is bound to change almost hourly in these remand homes, and while at any given moment there may be vacant places they may be filled up quickly and others may become empty.

28. Mrs. Hart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to implement the recommendations of the Special Committee of the Scottish Advisory Council on Child Care which recently reported to him on Scottish remand homes.

Mr. Maclay

I have already asked local authorities to submit proposals for improving their remand home arrangements. I shall announce my decisions on the more general recommendations after I have received the views of the local authority associations, whom I have consulted.

Mrs. Hart

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the point that arises from the Report is that this is not a matter for the local authority? Is he aware that the Special Committee expressed dismay at the inadequacy of quality and quantity in the staff of the remand homes and pointed to the need for national negotiating machinery to secure that more and better paid staff should be employed? Is not this a matter for the right hon. Gentleman's responsibility?

Mr. Maclay

I am bound to consider the views of local authorities on this matter before I come to any conclusions.