HC Deb 24 March 1976 vol 908 cc393-4
15. Mr. Monro

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will announce the grant to the Scottish Sports Council for 1976–77; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Frank McElhone)

The estimates for the Scottish Sports Council's grant in aid for 1976–77 are at present being considered with other departmental estimates before submission to Parliament. The Scottish Sports Council will be informed of its grant in aid as soon as possible.

Mr. Monro

Will the Minister say why he publicly criticised the Scottish Sports Council for giving grants in respect of golf courses which were freely available on a daily ticket basis to anybody, a facility widely enjoyed by young people? Was not the Sports Council set up to give grants where required?

Mr. McElhone

We should try to get a proper balance in this matter. I am not in favour of giving public money for private golf courses, especially when there are various organisations and groups looking after the interests of young people who do not have the facilities of golf clubs—club house, one-armed bandits and all the other fund-raising facilities.

Mrs. Bain

Would not the Minister agree that the development of sport in Scotland will be severely hit because, as a result of the education cut-backs, school facilities will not be open to outside groups?

Mr. McElhone

I am not aware that school facilities are not to be opened to outside groups If there is any evidence, I should be interested to receive it. I had a meeting yesterday with Dr. Docherty of the Manpower Services Commission. He has £12½ million of public money to spend and I have encouraged him to get together with the Scottish Sports Council to provide pitches, kick-about areas and, for the benefit of the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Monro), even hockey and rugby pitches.