HC Deb 21 July 1976 vol 915 cc1784-6
12. Mr. Canavan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will now make a statement about the report on the future of List D schools.

13. Mr. Rifkind

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a statement on the implementation of the Social Work (Scotland) Act with reference to List D schools.

23. Mr. Galbraith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a statement on the future responsibility for administering List D schools.

Mr. Millan

I have nothing to add at present to the reply given on 7th July to my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Cook).

Mr. Canavan

Since it is now nearly two years since the Mitchell Report recommended that List D schools should be administered by regional educational authorities, is it not high time that the Government made a statement about their future? Does he not agree that it would never solve the problems of crime or the problems of education to herd all the delinquents into concentration camps and use the unemployed teachers to flog them with birches, under the leadership of the gauleiter from Cathcart?

Mr. Millan

I agree with the latter part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question. I am not yet in a position to make a statement on the earlier part of his remarks, but I hope to do so soon.

Mr. Rifkind

Will the Secretary of State use this opportunity to repudiate the astonishing statement by the Minister of State, Scottish Office, who, in the Scottish Grand Committee on 13th July, said that even if the money were available he did not think that it should be used for new List D schools? Will the right hon. Gentleman explain why the Scottish Office has not yet given permission for grant to be given under Section 72 of the Children Act 1975 to allow local authorities to produce such schools in Scotland, where they are desperately needed?

Mr. Millan

The hon. Gentleman has his facts wrong on the last part of his supplementary question. On the question of List D schools generally, we have, proportionately, a larger number of places in Scotland than can be found in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Robert Hughes

Notwithstanding the difficulty about List D schools, can my right hon. Friend arrive at a speedy decision, so that there may be a proper discussion about the future of List D schools in relation to those who may need them, as well as examining the reasons for using such schools for teaching people in the community, which is the best place in which children can be looked after?

Mr. Millan

One must examine List D schools as only a part of the provision available to children's panels. I have not yet been able to make a decision on the first point mentioned by my hon. Friend. This matter has been pending for a considerable time. I appreciate that there is concern among local autho- rities and others at the delay in making an announcement.

Mr. Sproat

Does the Minister agree that children's panels have now become a dangerous farce and that it is absurd that no sentence can be awarded between sending offenders to List D schools and giving them a totally ineffective police warning? Should there not be powers to fine offenders heavily, if necessary, to make parents pay in order to induce some sense of family responsibility, and to put offenders on to community work?

Mr. Millan

The hon. Gentleman uses terminology that went out with the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. They are not all offenders. Many children who appear before the children's panels have not been involved in any kind of offence. The hon. Gentleman is completely inaccurate in his reference to the methods available to children's panels, since those methods are as wide as those that were available previously to the juvenile courts. Incidentally, when that Act went through this House it was supported by all parties, including the Conservative Party.