HC Deb 03 July 1996 vol 280 cc962-3
8. Mrs. Adams

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the impact of the measures that he has introduced to control the use of temazepam. [34178]

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton)

The measures introduced earlier this year have had the beneficial effect of reducing the illicit supply of temazepam.

Mrs. Adams

I am extremely grateful for the measures that were taken earlier this year and I have noticed a significant reduction in the use of temazepam in my constituency, but there has been no significant reduction in the overall use of drugs. When will the Government recognise that only by tackling bad housing, high unemployment and the lack of hope among young people will we be able to tackle the drugs problem?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The hon. Lady raises a general issue that we have been tackling through our urban regeneration and urban aid programme, which will provide more than £86 million this year. Her constituency benefits substantially from that assistance. We want not only an integrated approach for the various services in areas of deprivation but to take every reasonable measure possible against the scourge of drug abuse.

Mr. Connarty

I share the concern about the use of class A drugs, but is the Minister aware that the retail industry, whose representatives gathered at a conference two weeks ago to be addressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall), is worried about drunkenness in the streets, which leads to massive retail crime, the abuse of shop assistants and trouble in neighbourhoods? When will the Minister make a proposal to ban drinking in the street before the summer turns once again into a wild west show as people wander around Scotland's communities and high streets, drinking spirits and causing mayhem among the general public?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that we are encouraging local authorities to propose byelaws but, in addition, the White Paper specifies that we favour the proposal to confiscate drink in public places from those who are under age.