HL Deb 23 October 1975 vol 364 cc1603-4

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

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will now publish their reasons for choosing the Royal High School instead of Donaldson's Hospital to house the Scottish Assembly.


My Lords, there were a number of reasons for choosing the former Royal High School site rather than Donaldson's School for the Deaf. In particular the Government had regard to the type of accommodation which the buildings could provide and the feasibility of discontinuing the present use of the building in time to provide accommodation for the Assembly. The Government also had regard to the proximity to the old Royal High School of St. Andrew's House (to provide supplementary accommodation if required) and of both that building and New St. Andrew's House as the main offices for the civil servants who will be engaged on devolved functions.


My Lords, I thank the Minister for the information given in his reply. May I ask him whether he is aware that this is a matter of great public interest in Scotland and particularly as regards the political Parties who will be concerned with the Assembly? I would further ask him whether he would consult with the political Parties about the site, as the Secretary of State is acting in only a caretaker capacity until then. If he would do that, it would be conducive to a settlement and perhaps save a great deal of money when the time comes. May I also congratulate the Minister on having spare room in St. Andrew's House for civil servants. Is this in fact so?


My Lords, I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Mackie of Benshie, that of course in typical Scottish, canny manner there is occasionally a spare room to be found in St. Andrew's House. I can confirm that the Government will always have an open ear to representations made to them from the various political Parties which pursue their affairs in Scotland. The Government have carefully considered the choice as between the Royal High School and Donaldson's Hospital for the Deaf, and ease of adaptability certainly favours the former at this time.


My Lords, would not a school for the deaf appear to have certain merits to qualify it for housing the Scottish Assembly?