HC Deb 06 July 1977 vol 934 c1228
8. Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will consider holding an inquiry into tertiary (post-school) education in Scotland, with particular reference to ways of reducing the very high level of unemployment.

Mr. Millan

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment announced in the House on 29th June, there will be a substantial contribution from the education service to the Government's new programme for unemployed young people. I am keeping other aspects of tertiary education under review and do not consider that an inquiry is necessary at present.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

As the right hon. Gentleman is keeping other facets of this problem under review, does he agree that there is a case for having a full inquiry into post-school education in Scotland in future, in view of the heavy amount of unemployment there? Does he further agree that such an inquiry might serve a valuable purpose if someone with the stature of Lord Scarman were to head a review into all the facts and circumstances, with a view to reducing the shocking levels of unemployment in Scotland?

Mr. Millan

That is a rather interesting suggestion, but at present I see no case for a review. In the context of the Scotland and Wales Bill, the Government announced that in the post-devolution situation they would be anxious to see established in Scotland a Council for Higher Education, in respect of which the Assembly would play its part. We are pursuing this matter even in the pre-devolution situation, because it has met with a welcome in post-school education circles in Scotland. It is something that is well merited in its own right.

Mr. Fairbairn

In view of that reply, will the right hon. Gentleman undergo some tertiary education himself and stop using absurd words such as "post-devolution" and "pre-devolution", which mean nothing?