§ Mrs. Bain
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what action he is taking to ensure that the provision of facilities for disabled students (1) at schools and colleges are not undermined by cutbacks in expenditure;
(2) if he will make a statement concerning the provision of access and facilities for disabled people in plans for new educational buildings; and if he will make a similar undertaking to that made by Baroness Stedman during the Report Stage of the Education Bill 1976;
(3) what action he is taking to ensure that all new educational buildings in Scotland provide access and facilities for disabled persons; and if he will send a letter to all local authorities in Scotland similar to that sent to chief architects of all local education authorities in England on 12th January 1977.
§ Mr. McElhone
As acceptable costs for new school and college buildings have not been reduced, it is open to local authorities and governing bodies to provide the same facilities as hitherto. It is the responsibility of these bodies to decide what provision is practicable and reasonable in each case. Guidance was given in Scottish Education Department Circular No. 782 on planning provision for the needs of disabled persons in new educational buildings in accordance with the requirements of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970. The opportunity has also been taken when publishing design guidance to draw attention to the needs of the disabled. My right hon. Friend proposes, after consultation with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, to take action in Scotland similar to that referred to in the undertaking in question, and will be communicating with authorities and the other bodies concerned in this connection.
§ Mrs. Bain
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many disabled students applied to the Scottish Education Depart- 266W ment for the extra allowance payable to award holders in 1975–76 and in 1976–77; how many applications were successful; what was the average extra allowance paid; and what steps he is taking to advertise the existence of this extra allowance.
§ Mr. McElhone
During sessions 1975–76 and 1976–77 the Department received seven and three applications respectively from disabled students. With the exception of one student in 1976–77 special equipment allowances were paid to all these applicants at an average cost of £62 and £36 respectively. The allowances available to disabled students are publicised in the "Guide to Student Allowances" issued annually to students and their parents and to all educational establishments.