asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now make a statement about the future of the buildings of the former Hamilton college of education.
Following the advertisement for sale of the former Hamilton college of education a number of bodies have expressed an interest in acquiring the premises. Discussions continue and no final decision has yet been made.
As time goes on there is increasing anxiety in Lanarkshire about the future of these buildings. Will the Minister give the closing date and say what price will be placed on these valuable buildings? Will he confirm—or deny—the rumour in Hamilton that the Property Services Agency is again interested for governmental purposes? Does he recognise the increasing anxiety that, although these valuable buildings were pledged by him for educational use, that now seems less likely?
I assure the hon. Gentleman that we made every attempt to satisfy ourselves on whether there was an educational use for the buildings. We discussed a number of ideas with various bodies, but none of them came to fruition.I cannot disclose the price of the buildings, because when other parties are interested it becomes a commercial matter. However, I hope that the position will soon become clear.
Will the Minister give an assurance that the halls of residence, which have served students for many educational bodies in Strathclyde, ate not boarded up and wasted, but are used to accommodate students who desperately require accommodation in the West of Scotland?
The majority of students now using the hostel are attending colleges run by Strathclyde regional council. It is for that council to decide whether it wishes to take over the premises. However, there is no question of a central Government subsidy for that purpose.