§ 6. Mr. Robin F. Cook
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will issue a circular to local authorities on community services for alcoholics.
§ Mr. Robert Hughes
A circular of guidance outlining the respective rôles of health boards, local authorities and voluntary bodies—all of which have an important part to play in the provision of community facilities for alcoholics—is under consideration.
§ Mr. Cook
Will the Minister confirm that a draft circular has been going around the Department for over a year? Is it not time that the document was given more general readership? Is he aware that a similar circular was issued to English authorities in May 1973? Is it not an unacceptable situation that Scotland, which has a much greater problem of alcoholism, should be left so far behind?
§ Mr. Hughes
There has been a draft circular under discussion in the Advisory Council on Social Work, but before it is ready to go out there will need to be proper consultation with the interested bodies. It is true that a Department of Health and Social Security circular was sent out in 1973, but about the same time my Department issued a circular about financial assistance to be made available 492 to voluntary bodies, which referred to accommodaton for alcoholics as an example of the type of project eligible for grant.
§ Mr. Sproat
What provision in schools will the Minister seek to encourage to make pupils aware of the dangers of alcoholism, in parallel to the information issued about the dangers of smoking?
§ Mr. Hughes
These matters are dealt with by the Health Education Unit. I shall make inquiries to see whether the point made by the hon. Gentleman could be developed.