HC Deb 06 June 1985 vol 80 cc253-4W
Mr. Corrie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the future financial and administrative arrangements for list D schools.

Mr. Younger

Following my statement on 30 July 1984, discussions were held with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and with other interested parties about the future arrangements for these schools.

I have considered the views expressed in these discussions and in response to earlier consultations initiated in August 1983 I have reached the conclusion that the schools should continue to remain under their present voluntary management but that closer association with local authorities would be advantageous. Progress in this direction will be impeded so long as my Department is involved directly in funding and day-to-day operation of the schools. I have decided that regional and islands authorities should assume full responsibility for meeting the costs of maintaining at the schools children for whom they are directly responsible and that the grants representing half those costs currently paid by my Department to the schools should be withdrawn with effect from 31 March 1986. I believe that this adjustment in the arrangements for financial support will encourage authorities to enter into a meaningful partnership with the voluntary managed list D schools used by them in order to plan and co-ordinate the services provided by the schools over time with other child care facilities in their areas. Accordingly, I propose to make a direction under schedule 7(2) of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 bringing to an end my powers in relation to list D schools.

I recognise that such a transfer could, without adequate financial arrangements, place an additional burden on local authorities. I propose therefore to take this into account in the next rate support grant settlement by increasing both aggregate Exchequer grant and relevant expenditure by the full amount of the estimated increase in their expenditure. I also propose to continue direct funding to the managers of Rossie school, Montrose and St. Mary's Kenmure, Bishopbriggs under section 10 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act since these schools are mainly secure establishments and have a specialised function as well as accepting children from the whole of Scotland.

My Department is now arranging to discuss with the schools and the authorities concerned a number of detailed questions arising from my decision.