HC Deb 24 May 1995 vol 260 cc902-3
21. Mr. Macdonald

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the economic prospects for the highlands and islands. [24245]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The success of the Government's economic policies means that the prospects for continuing growth towards long-term economic prosperity in the highlands look very encouraging.

Mr. Macdonald

Is the Minister aware that investment in education is crucial to the economic future of the highlands? Is he aware that a recent report into a school in my constituency, Bayble school, by Her Majesty's inspectorate said that it was dangerous, smelly and suffering from chronic disrepair? Is that not the case throughout the highlands, and is that not a telling indictment of 15 years of chronic underinvestment and neglect by Tory Governments?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

No. Approaching £70 million is made available this year for capital investment in schools and school buildings. When we have the annual spending round this autumn, we shall take a hard look at the issue—not just in the hon. Gentleman's constituency, of which I am aware, but in many other parts of Scotland. We shall consider with great care the condition of school buildings throughout the length and breadth of Scotland.