HC Deb 04 August 1971 vol 822 c1574
28. Mr. Gray

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give the figures for each of the first six months of this year of persons convicted of underage drinking; and if he will give comparative figures for the last three years.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The most recent six-month period for which figures are available is that ending in March, 1971. The number of persons under 18 convicted or found guilty of purchasing or consuming excisable liquor in that period was 436. The figures for comparable periods ending in March, 1968, March, 1969, and March, 1970, were 243, 314 and 346, respectively.

Mr. Gray

My hon. Friend will appreciate that these are very disturbing figures indeed. Will he have discussions with education authorities with a view to devising a system of discussion groups at which the moral dangers to which young people are exposing themselves may be fully explained?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

One is naturally concerned by such figures as I have announced. The Scottish Health Education Unit is engaged in a programme which we hope will influence public attitude to drink, which is, of course, the object of the exercise.