HL Deb 21 July 1969 vol 304 cc653-4

2.45 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To asked Her Majesty's Government what progress they have to report on the accommodation of the Civil Service College recommended in the Fulton Report.]

The Lord PRIVY SEAL (Lord Shackleton)

My Lords, my noble friend will know that the Civil Service College will be taking over non-residential accommodation in London and the residential centre at Sunningdale Park at present used for central Civil Service training. We have now decided that the third centre needed by the College will be in Edinburgh, and it is hoped that accommodation in Atholl Crescent and some nearby property will be available for use by the autumn of 1970.


My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for that reply, may I ask him whether any consideration was given to any other part of this country for the out-of-London location, and of course to Wales in particular, of which I am specially thinking?


My Lords, we gave, and I particularly gave, most anxious consideration to this matter. We sought information, through my right honourable friend the Minister of Public Building and Works, about suitable premises in all parts of the United Kingdom outside the Home Counties and in the Midlands. We inspected several properties before a decision was reached. But I personally have no doubt that Edinburgh is in fact the ideal location for this particular College.


My Lords, is the Minister aware that there is no question about that? While expressing my gratification, may I ask whether he can tell me how many people we may expect to accommodate and properly educate in Edinburgh?


My Lords, I am glad to have support from my noble friend. Edinburgh meets all the basic requirements—good communications; ready access to a university or technical colleges; strongly developing industry, particularly in the field of electronics, in the neighbourhood, and of course the proximity of the Scottish Ministries in Edinburgh. My noble friend asked me how many people we expect to accommodate. When the third centre is fully developed, we hope to have about 300 students under training at a tune on a variety of courses and seminars, and there will be a full-time cadre of academics and civil servants apart from the use of part-time teachers. It is a little difficult to estimate their number accurately, but it will probably be about 150 to 200.

The Earl of PERTH

My lords, would it be in order to congratulate the noble Lord the Leader of the House on the choice of Edinburgh, both from the point of view that many civil servants are found from Scotland, and, perhaps at least as important, from the point of view; hat it ensures the preservation of an important part of Edinburgh; namely, Atholl Crescent and the New Town?


My Lords, let me hasten to interrupt the noble Earl to tell him that he will not be in order, but his remarks are none the less very acceptable.