HC Deb 21 February 1973 vol 851 cc462-3
16. Mr. David Steel

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has received a copy of the report "The Training of Staff for Centres for the Mentally Handicapped"; and what action he proposes to take on its recommendations.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Yes, Sir. The report was published on 7th February and my right hon. Friend is now seeking the views of the bodies concerned on its recommendations. He will decide what action to take when he has received and considered them.

Mr. Steel

Does the Under-Secretary agree that this is a most important report, particularly the opening conclusions which indicate that we should abolish the category of children regarded as ineducable and that we should transfer responsibility for day care centres to education authorities? This is an important basic recommendation. I hope that the Government will come to a conclusion on it fairly soon.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

This is an important report. I should like to pay tribute to Mr. Melville, the director of education in the hon. Gentleman's constituency, who chaired the committee, and his colleagues. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman would expect me at this stage to comment on detailed recommendations—not until we have received representations and views from the various bodies involved.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

Are not paragraphs 59 and 60, which refer to changing the position in law of the ineducable child, at the heart of the report? Unless the Government indicate that they will legislate or will encourage legislation the report will not get very far.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I ask the hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that the report was published only a fortnight ago. It is far too early to come to a conclusion on it. We must consider people's views on it and come to a conclusion in the proper way.

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