HC Deb 03 February 1971 vol 810 cc1666-7
26. Mr. Deakins

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will consider providing financial or material support for the Glen Coe mountain rescue unit and other recognised voluntary units in similar areas.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Government support is given through the police authorities in the areas concerned. Their expenditure on financial or material assistance to maintain rescue teams ranks for 50 per cent. police grant and for rate support grant.

Mr. Deakins

Is the Under-Secretary aware of the devoted service given to the community and to the Scottish tourist industry by these brave men and women, at their own risk and expense? Does it not justify rather more support than that which is given indirectly? Is he aware that these mountain rescue units, in particular the one at Glen Coe, have to burden themselves with the expense of buying a great deal of equipment which cannot be obtained from the local authorities?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I congratulate the hon. Member on venturing into Scottish Questions. I appreciate his interest in the subject of mountaineering since it is one in which I have an interest. We believe that the police authorities are the right bodies to co-ordinate work in this area. The Glen Coe team, which he mentions, has never requested financial or material aid. Through the police authorities we do assist these bodies very much. I endorse most strongly the tribute which the hon. Gentleman paid to the work of these teams, not only the voluntary effort but the work of the police, too. If he has any specific instance which he would like to raise, I should be pleased to discuss the matter further with him.