§ 12. Mr. W. Hamilton
asked the Lord President of the Council and Minister for Science if he is yet in a position to announce the siting of the new university in Scotland.
§ 13. Mr. Millan
asked the Lord President of the Council and Minister for Science when he expects to be able to announce the site for the new university in Scotland.
§ 15. Mr. Willis
asked the Lord President of the Council and Minister for Science when the University Grants Committee is expected to visit the possible sites for the proposed new university in Scotland.
§ 22. Mr. Hannan
asked the Lord President of the Council and Minister for Science how many submissions have been made of sites for new universities in Scotland; and if he will consult the Secretary of State for Scotland before making a decision.
§ Mr. Hogg
As I told the House on 27th January, I have asked the University Grants Committee for advice on the choice of a location and I understand that the Committee is about to get in touch with sponsoring bodies with a view to arranging discussions and visits to the suggested locations which are seven in number. The decision will be taken only after full consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland but this important matter has to be thoroughly and fairly explored and the decision cannot be announced for some time yet. Until now the University Grants Committee has had to give priority to the emergency programme of university expansion to 1967–68, to which a new university would be unable to make any appreciable contribution.
§ Mr. Hamilton
Is it not the case that discussions have already taken place betwen the U.G.C., the Scottish Education Department and the Scottish Development Department? Is it not also the case that one reason for the delay is the difficulty of arranging an itinerary for the U.G.C. in Scotland? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there is anger and dismay in Scotland at this continued delay and the lack of evidence of any sense of urgency by the Government?
§ Mr. Millan
Quite apart from dealing with the short-term emergency, is it not desirable to decide on the site of the new university in Scotland fairly soon? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the reason given by the U.G.C.—the difficulty of arranging visits to various sites—seems to us in Scotland thoroughly inadequate to explain the further delay over the selection of the site?
§ Mr. Ross
This situation is not new. Nor has is grown up only in the last two or three months. For years we have been trying to persuade the Government of the need for a new university. A fact-finding committee has been at work and Professor Walker Chambers has himself expressed disappointment that, after all this time, the Government still have not a sense of urgency. Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether there will be further delay before the U.G.C. explores possible sites? Will not he think again about this and inject a certain urgency into the matter?
§ Mr. Willis
Instead of taking advice from the U.G.C., will the right hon. and 227 learned Gentleman take steps to see that it visits these sites before the end of the year? Is he aware that it has been reported that it will not visit them until the end of the year? That is far too long to wait even for visits by the U.G.C.
§ Mr. Hannan
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind the observation of the Robbins Report about the difficulties of the provision of student accommodation and that the delays at Keele, for example, arise out of that consideration alone? Will he also bear in mind that the new universities in England and Wales were provided in a much shorter space of time because the promotion committees for universities had already put in some hard work and these sites were visited? Is he aware that, in both these respects, East Stirlingshire has already indicated that it is well qualified?
While one appreciates the need for great care to ensure that the new university is in the right place, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman see that a report is provided within a reasonable time—at least before the end of the year?
§ Mr. Rankin
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would it be in order for me to advocate the claims of Inverness as a site for the new university?