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Volume 656: debated on Wednesday 28 March 1962

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School Building


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps have been taken in the past six months to encourage local education authorities to combine in school building consortia; and with what results.

Arrangements are in hand for meetings in Edinburgh and Inverness, with the Minister of State in the chair, to which representatives of all education authorities will be invited and in which the advantages of consortium methods will be explained and discussed.

Does that Answer mean that nothing has been done in the last six or twelve months to explain in greater detail to the local education authorities the quite considerable economies that can arise from the establishment of such consortia? Is not Lanarkshire, as a member of the English consortium, the only authority in Scotland at the moment which is in a consortium? Since many of the steel components are made in Scotland, may we not call on the Secretary of State to make tremendous efforts to bring more education authorities in Scotland into this kind of arrangement?

I agree that these consortia are of great importance. We are moving as fast as we can to get more authorities involved and interested.

Forth Road Bridge (Tolls)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to receive the draft schedule of toll charges from the Forth Road Bridge Joint Board; and when he proposes to invite objections to the suggested charges.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 14th March to the right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn).

I recall the reply the Secretary of State gave to my right hon. Friend, but is the right hon. Gentleman aware that since the Forth Road Bridge Joint Board accepted the principle of toll charges considerable economic changes have been taking place in Fife resulting from pit closures? Does the right hon. Gentleman expect that Fife will be able to attract the necessary industry if toll charges unduly increase the freight charges of those industries? Will he, therefore, assure the House that if toll charges must be imposed they will be of a nominal character?

I am awaiting the schedule that is to be submitted to me. There will be opportunity for a public inquiry if there are objections to the proposed toll charges.

Why is a toll imposed on this particular part of a trunk road while the M.1, which is also a trunk road, has no toll charges?

The hon. Gentleman will be aware, from previous answers that have been given, of the Government's policy in relation to toll charges. This policy has been set out by myself and by the Minister of Transport.

Commonwealth Immigrants


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that 10,800 Commonwealth immigrants arrived in January, 1962, against 2,940 in 1961 and only 120 in 1960, which, on the 1961 total figure of 136,000, indicates a total of over 400,000 for 1962; and if he will take the necessary steps to see that Scotland's proportion of 400,000 are property housed and found jobs.

I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend on 7th March.

Why does my right hon. Friend mot want Scotland to have its fair share of the immigrants who are coming to this country? Will he direct 20,000 of them to Dundee, the Socialist hon. Member for which is so keen on unlimited numbers coming here?

My hon. Friend must be aware from previous answers that we do not consider that any special Scottish measures as regards jobs or houses are necessary.

In view of the enormous difficulties in Scotland in regard to jobs and houses, does my right hon. Friend think that Scotland could take a fair share of the numbers who are coming in?

We have never been restrictive in our view in Scotland about people coming from any part of the world.

Is the Secretary of State aware that jobs and houses are essential in Scotland and that when we have them we would certainly resent any measures being taken to prevent people coming in merely because of the colour of their skin?

Certificate Of Education (Spoken English)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will introduce an examination in spoken English in the leaving certificate in Scotland.

I am certainly anxious to secure a high standard of spoken English in the schools, but I do not think it would be practicable to try to test this in the examination for the Scottish Certificate of Education.

Will the right hon. Gentleman pay due respect to what are sometimes contemptuously called dialects, Whether they be spoken in Scotland, Ireland, the West Country or elsewhere, and ensure that they are properly dealt with?

Speaking personally, I should greatly regret the disappearance of dialects such as those to which the hon. and learned Gentleman has referred.

Marginal Land (Financial Assistance)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has completed his discussion with Scottish farmers about the continuation of financial assistance for marginal land; and whether he will make a statement about the future of marginal agricultural production.

As stated in the recent White Paper on the Annual Review, 1962, there will be further discussions with the farmers' unions on the proposals for the winter keep scheme. The marginal agricultural production scheme, as already announced, will terminate with the 1962 cropping season.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the importance of bringing these discussions to a conclusion before the marginal agricultural production scheme ends so that the new schemes can follow on in the immediate cropping season? Will he also bear in mind that it is very important that these schemes should replace completely and adequately the good work done under the marginal agricultural production scheme in the Highlands over the last ten or more years?

I am well aware of both points which my hon. Friend has raised. I think that these new proposals, together with the existing production grants, will provide a system of grants very well suited to our marginal areas.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is very strong criticism of the mean and niggardly action of the Government concerning aid in respect of marginal land? Does he realise that most farming people in Scotland believe that this was a very good way to develop the land of Scotland? He has done a gross disservice to Scotland by the attitude which he has adopted.

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the proposed legislation will be introduced in the present Session so that there will be no gap between the ending of the marginal agricultural production scheme and the introduction of the new schemes?

I am afraid that I cannot give any positive assurances about the dates of legislation, but I am well aware of the need to ensure that there is no gap.

Unfit Houses


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many unfit houses he expects to be closed or demolished in 1962.

Not all local authorities have yet sent me their slum clearance programmes for the three years 1962 to 1964, but it is already clear that they are planning to deal with more than 12,000 unfit houses a year during that period.

Is the Secretary of State satisfied that that is a serious estimate? Is it not a fact that between 1956 and 1961 there was no improvement in the number of houses dealt with in Scotland? Since the Government have said that the emphasis in their housing policy is on slum clearance and redevelopment, when may we expect an improvement in these figures? What are the Government doing about them? This is a very serious matter.

I should not like to accept everything that the hon. Gentleman has said without checking the figures, which I do not have in my head. However, I believe that the figures which I have given are a fair estimate of what we are hoping to achieve. It is difficult to be absolutely precise as to what will be achieved at this stage.

Civil Defence (Dispersal Of Population)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are his latest proposals for the dispersal of the civil population in the event of nuclear war.

I am about to write to local authorities giving outline arrangements for a dispersal scheme and I will send the hon. Member a copy of the letter.

Will the Secretary of State take care to ensure that in future he does not make arrangements for the population of Glasgow to be sent to the neighbourhood of Holy Loch? Can he give us any idea as to where nearly three million of the industrial population can be dispersed in Scotland when there are no houses for them?

I said that I am sending the hon. Gentleman a copy of the letter. I hope that this time I will get the information right up to date.

Houses, Faifley (Repairs)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received respecting the repairs necessary to Scottish Special Housing Association houses in Faifley, Clydebank; and what measures he is taking to inquire into the cause of defects occurring soon after the houses were built.

The Town Council of Clydebank wrote to me on 15th March expressing its concern and the following day senior officers of my Department and of the Scottish special Housing Association discussed the matter with representatives of the Council.

As I explained to the hon. Member when I wrote to him last week, I expect to receive from the Association soon a full technical report on the causes of the defects in these houses.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is grave concern not only in Clydebank but in other areas about the serious defects in these houses? Thousands of pounds have to be spent on houses which have been ill designed and badly constructed. Notwithstanding some assertions made by the right hon. Gentleman and his Department, will he ensure that in future public money is used to build houses with some "guts" in them?

The hon. Gentleman must let me await the Report before expecting me to agree with the criticisms which he has expressed. However, I very much regret that these difficulties have arisen.

These defects have been known for months. Thousands of pounds are having to be spent, the houses are in ruins—

This is a bad case. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I propose to raise the matter on the Adjournment.



asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what reply he has made to the memorandum he received from the editor of the Glasgow Herald on the need for a fifth university for Scotland.

This memorandum was addressed to the Committee on Higher Education, of which Lord Robbins is Chairman, and I cannot make any comment upon it.

Is the Secretary of State aware that the memorandum rejected the idea of a satellite university, doubted the practicality of the expansion of Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities and, therefore, claimed that Scotland needed a fifth university so that it might have its fair share of the increasing financial and human resources which will be devoted to higher education in the years ahead? Will the right hon. Gentleman give us his views on those three points as Secretary of State for Scotland?

Certain of the matters are outwith my direct responsibility, but I have a general interest in the matter as a whole. For a general answer to the points which the hon. Gentleman has raised, I would refer him to the Answer given by my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) on 8th March.

That Answer was most unsatisfactory. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he is responsible for educational facilities in Scotland? Is he also aware that there is a grave shortage of university places in Scotland and that this shortage will become much graver in the years ahead? Surely the time is ripe for an announcement on a fifth university for Scotland.

The hon. Lady knows that I am well aware of the feelings on this matter in Scotland and that I am following very closely what is going on. However, she will realise that it is not competent for me to make any statement about the future of another university in Scotland.

Young Persons (Remand Centres)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many young persons were committed to prison before trial during 1961 because of the lack of remand home or remand centre accommodation.

Figures are not available for the whole of 1961, but for the six months from 1st September last 1,042 persons between 17 and 21 years were committed to prison before trial who could have been committed to remand centres had they been available.

That is a most serious statement. Can the Secretary of State indicate by what right and under what Statute these young people are detained in Barlinnie Prison and other prisons on remand before trial? Will he take action to ensure that this practice stops and that the stigma attaching to these young people, who may be declared innocent when they come to trial, is completely removed?

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is very desirable that proper accommodation should be available. A remand centre at Polmont, en- tirely separate from the borstal institution, will be opened probably at the beginning of August. We are proposing to erect a fully equipped remand centre at Larbert, but it will be a little time before it is built.

This is a very serious matter, as my hon. Friend has said. Cannot the Secretary of State speed up work on these remand centres, because it is intolerable that young people should be sent to prison even before their trial?

I am very anxious that this work should go forward as quickly as possible.

Flood Prevention Schemes


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many applications he has received from local authorities for approval of flood prevention schemes under the Flood Prevention (Scotland) Act, 1961.

One authority has formally submitted a scheme for approval and six others are known to be actively considering schemes.

May I take it from what the Secretary of State has said that one scheme has been approved, or has one been submitted to him for approval? Does the fact that assistance to the value of, I think, only £20,000 is available under the Act have anything to do with the schemes not coming forward?

No, I do not think so. My Answer was that one authority has formally submitted a scheme for approval. I cannot add to that at the moment.

In view of the problems concerning water supply, flooding and drainage, would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the time has long since passed for a complete survey and control of the Whole watershed in Scotland?

I appreciate the gravity of these matters, but we have debated them very often in relation to Bills on drainage and flooding which have become Acts of Parliament. However, I will have regard to what the right hon. Gentleman has said.

Agriculture (Winter Keep Scheme)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland which parts of Scotland will be in a position to receive grants for the production of winter keep in connection with the scheduled scheme under the recent Agricultural Price Review.

It is proposed that the winter keep scheme will apply to livestock rearing land in all parts of Scotland.

Will all farms, whether at present they benefit from M.A.P. grants or not, be in a position to submit requests for grant under this scheme when it comes into operation?

I should not like to go into details of that kind in answer to a supplementary question. I should, however, make clear that details of the scheme have still to be worked out and the National Farmers' Unions consulted.

Does my right hon. Friend realise the importance of the scheme to these areas and that it as essential that people should know exactly what will happen before the M.A.P. scheme ends?

Electricity Boards (Finance)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now make a statement regarding his discussions with the electricity boards in Scotland on the implementation of the policies set out in Command Paper 1337, The Financial and Economic Obligations of the Nationalised Industries.

The South of Scotland Electricity Board has agreed that it should be its financial objective over the five years 1962–66 to secure an average gross return before deducting interest or making provision for depreciation of about 12½ per cent. on its net assets. This will enable the Board to finance from revenue more than 50 par cent, of its capital development.

Discussions with the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board are still in progress.

While one cannot fully appreciate these figures without looking into them, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is a fact that this additional raising of capital means, in effect, price increases? Will the Secretary of State answer the simple question: how much will this cost electricity consumers in Scotland? They are already worried and annoyed about the South of Scotland increased electricity charges.

I understand that the South of Scotland Board, which recently announced its new tariffs to produce an additional 11 per cent. of revenue, had all these matters in mind when making these increases.

Does any consultation take place with the Secretary of State regarding these new tariffs? Is it true that the weight is being put upon the domestic tariff as against the industrial tariff?

The fixing of tariffs is a matter for the Board, but details of discussions which were held were set out in the White Paper dealing with the nationalised industries.

How can the right hon. Gentleman say that these increases are a matter for the Board? Can he answer the simple question: how much is this costing electricity consumers? It must be costing them something. Are we not entitled to know how much?

I cannot answer that in reply to a supplementary question. If, however, the hon. Member would put a Question down, I would try to give him the answer. It would be a fairly complicated matter.

Municipal Elections


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in view of the forthcoming municipal elections, he will circularise returning officers drawing their attention to the regulations made under the Representation of the People Act; and if he will stress the impropriety of unauthorised persons being present in premises where polling or counting of votes is proceeding.

No, Sir. Returning officers are well aware of the local elections rules scheduled to the 1949 Act under which unauthorised persons must be excluded from the polling station and from the counting of votes.

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that in view of the recent local election in which abuses certainly took place, it would be very desirable to issue a circular reminding returning officers of such abuses as, for example, the local provost standing in the hall although not himself a candidate and welcoming the electors, with a count taking place under the same roof as the committee rooms of one of the political parties? Surely, something should be done to remind returning officers of the proper practice.

There is a technical point which I should explain. The conduct of elections is entirely in the hands of the returning officers, as provided by the terms of the Representation of the People Act, 1949. It would be both unnecessary and improper for me to issue reminders to them about certain aspects of their duty, but doubtless the hon. Member's Question will come to their attention.

Students (Grants)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to receive the Report on student grants from the Standing Advisory Committee; and if he will publish this Report.

The Report has recently been received by my right hon. Friends the Minister of Education and the Minister for Science and myself. We are considering the Report but no decision has yet been made about publication.

With the new dispensation in student grants, does not the Secretary of State consider it important to engender as much confidence in these committees as possible and that publication of the Report would help considerably, irrespective of what the Government's final decision might be?

I appreciate the point that the hon. Member is making, but the Advisory Committee is a new body and it has not yet been worked out how its advice can best be handled. It might well be contrary to the most useful working of the Committee to make a general rule at the beginning either that all its reports should be published or that none should.

Technical Colleges (Building Programme)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the completion dates of the present technical colleges building programme will be realised; and if he will provide a table in the OFFICIAL REPORT showing the progress of each project.

Of the Government's programme of technical college building to the value of £18 million to be started by the end of March 1964, project have beeb strated to date to the value of £13½ million. This includes projects to the value of £1 million already completed and others to the value of approximately £1½ million are expected to be completed by the end of the present year. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT tables showing estimated dates for the start and the completion of further projects which are at earlier stages.

While it is difficult to accept all the implications of that Answer without seeing the full statement, may I ask whether the Secretary of State is, like the rest of us, rather disappointed at the progress which has been achieved under the earlier programme announced in 1956? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many communities, such as my own, have an interest in the present programmes and wish that they could be carried out with dispatch?

I have been disappointed with the delays encountered concerning certain colleges, but the hon. Member will appreciate that the figure I have given for starts is not too bad. One of the major difficulties, which has arisen in the hon. Member's constituency among others, is the problem of sites.

Is the Secretary of State aware that a firm in my constituency which has a good apprenticeship record has been directed by the President of the Board of Trade to conduct its expansion in a development district and that it wishes to choose Dunbarton but finds that no facilities are available for technical education?

Starting DateCompletion DateStarting DateCompletion Date
Stow Colleges of Building and Printing, Glasgow.May, 1959November, 1964
Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen (New School of Domestic Science).November,1960August. 1963
Aberdeen Technical CollegeFebruary, 1961January. 1964
Kilmarnock Technical CollegeFebruary, 1961May, 1964
Ayr Technical CollegeFebruary, 1961June, 1964
Barmulloch College, GlasgowMarch, 1961December, 1964
Dundee Trades CollegeJune, 1961Summer, 1963
Langside College, GlasgowAugust, 1961August, 1964
Anniesland College, GlasgowFebruary, 1962January, 1965
Clydebank Technical CollegeMay, 1962December,1964
Napier Technical College, EdinburghJanuary, 1962Autumn, 1964
Bathgate Technical CollegeMarch, 1962November, 1963
Galashiels Technical CentreMay, 1962September, 1963
Esk Valley College, MidlothianSeptember, 1962July, 1965
Glasgow Nautical SchoolNovember, 1963August, 1966
Greenock Technical CollegeNot yet available
Dundee Commercial CollegeJanuary, 1964September, 1965
Reid Kerr College, PaisleyMay, 1960August, 1962
Glasgow School of ArtDecember, 1960September, 1962

*Kirkcaldy Technical College

September, 1960June, 1966
Heriot Watt College, Edinburgh (New Department of Brewing and 1963 Applied Chemistry).August, 1960February,
Thursc Technical CollegeMay, 1962November, 1963
Stow College of Engineering, Glasgow.August, 1962August, 1964
David Dale College, GlasgowAugust, 1962August, 1964
Buckhaven Technical College†October, 1962March, 1963
July, 1963 July, 1965

*Three phase totalling £1,045,100: two years each phase.

† Temporary Scheme.

Agriculture (Price Review)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what communication he has received from the National Farmers' Union of Scotland

I should be grateful if the hon. Member would either write to me about this or let me have time to examine what he has said.

Following are the tables:

about the 1962 Price Review as it affects Scotland; and what was the nature of his reply.

I have not received any communication from the Scottish National Farmers' Union on this subject.

Is the Minister aware of the deep resentment in Scotland about agricultural subsidies? Is he aware that the dairy farmers in Ayrshire especially regard this as a severe blow to the dairying industry, because it will increase the price to the consumer without helping the farmer? Is he also aware that it is a heavy blow against the small egg producers and that the farmers of Scotland unanimously wish to see him in another place?

The hon. Member has gone wide of his original Question. As he knows, I had a meeting last week with the Scottish N.F.U. The Union made it clear that it was unable to accept the Government's conclusions, but I gained the impression that it was well aware of the reasons for the result of the Review.

Was my right hon. Friend satisfied with the reception he got last week at the dinner of the Scottish N.F.U. and particularly with that part of the discussion which related to winter keep, to which the Scottish farmers are looking forward with keen interest?

Even though the representatives of the Scottish N.F.U. did not like the Review, they were extremely kind to me when I met them on that occasion.

In view of the totally unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Ambulances (Maternity Patients)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements are made by regional hospital boards to ensure that no maternity patient is taken to hospital by an unaccompanied ambulance driver.

The normal practice is that, where a patient has to travel to a hospital by ambulance and the doctor thinks it necessary for her to be accompanied by a midwife, he arranges for either the district midwife or a midwife from the hospital to go with her.

Is it not the case that all maternity patients going to hospital should be accompanied? Have there not been examples of patients with a fair degree of urgency being unaccompanied? Will the Secretary of State make full inquiries and press upon the regional board the need for a midwife to accompany the driver?

This is a matter which is best left to the discretion of the people immediately concerned. It would be wasteful of badly needed skilled staff to send somebody on every occasion if it was quite unnecessary to do so.

Is the Secretary of State aware that, time after time, regional hospital boards apparently do not take the proper precautions to ensure that ambulance drivers are accompanied? In these circumstances, is it not his duty to intervene?

If I were persuaded that some authorities were not fulfilling their duty properly, certainly I would take steps to bring the matter to their attention. Perhaps the hon. Lady will send me details if she has any cases in mind.

In view of the number of complaints made recently about the service, will the Secretary of State look at the whole matter once again to make sure that at least certain boards are not slipping up with regard to the ambulance service?

I will certainly look at the matter. It would be helpful if any further cases which need examination were brought to my attention.

Derelict Sites (Clearance)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report the names of those local authorities which have applied for and have been granted financial assistance for the clearance of derelict sites under the terms of the Local Employment Act; and whether he will indicate the purposes for which the grants have been made in each case.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he is satisfied with the rate at which applications are coming forward? If he is not, can he tell us what is his opinion as to the reasons for this tardiness in the applications? Is it not the case that the Toot-hill Committee recommended that the grants be increased in order to get the local authorities to be more forthcoming in their applications? Can the right hon. Gentleman say, further, what stage has been reached in the consultations between himself and Fife local authorities about the clearance of sites?

That is really rather a handful for one supplementary question. The initiative does lie with the local authorities, who are fully informed of grant facilities. I should be glad to consider more applications. As to the question whether the level of grant is right, the standard rate of grant is 50 per cent., which we feel is a fair division between the Exchequer and the local authorities, bearing in mind that a cleared site is a permanent asset to the local community.

Following are the details:

Local Authorities to whom grant has been promised


West Lothian County Council1. Clearing of 8 acres abandoned colliery site at Armadale for school playing fields.
2. Remedial works on the Bog Burn, Bathgate, to improve amenity.
3. Removing a disused railway embankment at Fauld house to provide I acre of land for housing.
4. Removing small Bing at Fauldhouse for housing.
Coatbridge Town Council1. Consulting Engineers Report on scheme for piping and infilling Monkland Canal (grant promised on fees).
2. Clearance of 37 acres Bing and Old Iron Works site at Sikeside for industry and housing.
Fife County CouncilRehabilitation of 9½ acres ex A.A. gun site at Halbeath for industry.
Renfrew First District CouncilInfilling 28 acres of swampland at Muirend for recreation area.
Motherwell Town CouncilClearance of Parkhead Bing to provide 6½ acres of land for multi-storey housing and car park.

Glasgow-Kilmarnock Road


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when work started on the Glasgow-Kilmarnock road; and when it will be completed.

Work on improvement of this road from Eastwood Toll to Malletsheugh, including the reconstruction of Whitecraigs railway bridge, started in November, 1959, and is expected to be completed in September, 1962.

Classified Roads, Ayrshire (Maintenance And Repair)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much he has allocated to the authorities in Ayrshire in respect of maintenance and repair of classified roads in 1962–63; and how this compares with 1961–62.

The initial allocation of grant made to Ayr County Council earlier this month towards the cost of works of maintenance and minor improvement on classified roads in the county during 1962–63 was £192,000. The equivalent figure for 1961–62 was £200,050.

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that the inadequacy of the provision in respect of classified roads is equalled only by the slowness in respect of the trunk road from Kilmarnock to Glasgow?

I agree that all of us would like to have more money available for that road, but we really cannot do everything simultaneously.

Barlinnie Prison


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in view of the many serious incidents of violence in the past few months amongst prisoners in Barlinnie Prison, he will institute an independent inquiry.

The circumstances of each incident of this kind are fully investigated as it occurs and I do not consider that an independent inquiry into recent incidents at Barlinnie would help.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the number of stabbings has gone up to ten this year; and that the chaplain, who has been there twenty-four years, says these are the worst cases of violence he has seen during that time? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the general public want to know where the people in the stabbing cases get the implements they use for stabbing, and that the general public want to know more about it? I do not see that anything but an independent inquiry would be of any use to satisfy the general public.

I am quite sure the hon. Lady will agree that what matters above all is to get this kind of thing stopped, and that is what our objective must be. As to the wisest and best way to achieve that, I should inform the hon. Lady that the police are informed immediately of every serious assault and are given facilities for questioning the prisoners and members of the prison staff. At the same time the governor carries out his own inquiries into the circumstances as affecting the discipline of the prison and the supervision arrangements. Each incident is inquired into very fully indeed.

All of us agree that the important thing is to get this stopped. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in these last few months there has been one stabbing incident after another? Is he also aware that, according to his own information, a local inquiry has been held in each case and that it has not prevented further instances of stabbing? Surely he must come to the conclusion that we need an independent inquiry into this matter, since those who have sons in the prison, and the people around the prison, are very concerned indeed about the continuing disturbances there? It would hearten them if the right hon. Gentleman were to accept what my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Gorbals (Mrs. Cullen) is asking for—an independent inquiry.

I think I should inform the hon. Lady of some of the things done in reviewing the internal security arrangements. A number of measures designed to ensure the closer supervision of prisoners have been brought into operation. The exercise time of the prisoners has been changed to allow more effective supervision. Additional supervising officers are on duty at certain times. Special measures have been taken to open passageways to shorten the routes taken by bodies of prisoners. I shall continue to watch carefully to see how far these measures are successful.

Air-Raid Shelters, Glasgow


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to remove the surface air-raid shelters in the City of Glasgow.

It remains the policy of the Government to preserve sound airraid shelters so far as possible. I am, however, always prepared to consider whether in individual cases there are compelling grounds for removal.

Does the Secretary of State really believe that these shelters are of any use at all or ever were of any use? Back courts are cluttered up with them, people cannot get their washing out, and the shelters are used for all sorts of purposes. I am sure that if we had another war they would be of no earthly use at all.

I do not think it would be sensible to get rid of something that would give a degree of protection in the event of another war.

Will the right hon. Gentleman stop pretending to the House, an assembly of sensible men and women? Is he not aware that his predecessor indicated some years ago that he would consider these things? If these are just obsolete anachronisms in the nuclear age, will he not take a decision to dispense with them at the earliest possible moment?

I really do not think that it would be sensible to dispense with them all at once, but I always have said that I will consider in any individual case whether there are grounds for removal.