HC Deb 30 June 1982 vol 26 cc880-1
5. Mr. George Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now make a statement about the sale of the former Hamilton college of education buildings.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Alexander Fletcher)

Prospective purchasers have been informed that the property is available for disposal either as a whole or in lots and have been invited to submit firm offers by 23 July.

Mr. Robertson

Is the Minister aware that today the doors closed on Lanarkshire's fine college of education at Hamilton, and that responsibility for that contemptible act of educational damage lies fairly and squarely at his door? Will he assure the House that there is no possibility of his agreeing to an elitist private school taking over these buildings? Will he also assure the House that the acute shortage of student accommodation, which has been occasioned by the residences closing, will be greeted with help from the Scottish Education Department?

Mr. Fletcher

The hon. Gentleman is aware that the college closed because it virtually ran out of students as a result of the diminishing demand for teachers and the falling school population in Scotland. The Government have always made it clear that we should like the buildings to continue in educational use. So far, no offer has been submitted by any education authority in the West of Scotland.