HC Deb 31 January 1962 vol 652 cc1076-8
15. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he proposes to take regarding the recommendations of the Special Committee of the Scottish Advisory Council on child care in remand homes.

Mr. Brooman-White

My right hon. Friend has asked local authorities to submit proposals for improving their present remand home arrangements. He has also asked the local authority associations for their views on the more general recommendations. Revised Remand Home Rules are now being prepared and will be issued shortly.

Mr. Thomson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there will be strong and widespread support for the main recommendation of the Committee that remand homes should be taken over by the Secretary of State? Is he aware that this applies particularly to Dundee, where there is a long-standing problem of a very inadequate remand home? Will he in the meantime give the Dundee Corporation every encouragement to go ahead with the building of a new and adequate remand home pending the Secretary of State taking over the financial responsibility for it?

Mr. Brooman-White

We are well aware of the Dundee problem and hope that, now that we have the Report, we shall be able to make progress in solving it.

Mr. Hoy

As the main recommendation of the Committee calls for a decision not so much by local authorities but by the Secretary of State about the taking over of remand homes, when can we expect a statement about it?

Mr. Brooman-White

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that I ought not to comment further until we have heard the views of the local authorities.

Mr. W. Hamilton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that very scathing comments are made about the quality of existing remand homes? If the Secretary of State is not prepared to accept the Committee's major recommendation that the Secretary of State should take over remand homes and is passing the financial burden on to the local authorities, may we have an undertaking that in that circumstance the Secretary of State will take account of this in the next general grant proposals?

Mr. Brooman-White

I give no undertaking in that respect but would remind the hon. Gentleman that on 3rd January local authorities were asked to submit proposals for meeting the shortcomings in the service and that my right hon. Friend intends shortly to make an Order specifying the date when premises used as remand homes will have to have his certificate of approval.