Mr Thomas Steele: asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the progress of police amalgamation in Scotland.
Mr Thomas Steele: May I offer my congratulations to my right hon. Friend for his timely action on this matter? To what extent has the work of the police become more effective, or is it at the moment too early to say?
Mr Thomas Steele: All hon. Members will agree with the latter remarks of the hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery), in which he said that the country should get value for money. The hon. Gentleman spoke with great knowledge of the subject and I am sure that the Minister has made enough notes to enable him to reply to the debate now, without the discussion continuing. Nevertheless, many hon. Members have matters...
Mr Thomas Steele: On behalf of my constituents in Alexandria, I thank my hon. Friend for that good news.
Mr Thomas Steele: On the point about the torpedo factory at Alexandria, I thought that my hon. Friend, before he was interrupted, was about to say something much more interesting.
Mr Thomas Steele: Is my hon. Friend aware that I have a letter in my file dated 1955 in which it was promised that the double carriageway between Glasgow and Carlisle would be completed in 10 years? We are only getting it done now.
Mr Thomas Steele: On a point of order. I have been listening with care to the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley). He is dealing with how the other House should be constituted. I am not sure whether that is dealt with in these Amendments. However, may we have your guidance, Mr. Jennings, on whether we shall be able to follow this line of argument?
Mr Thomas Steele: I cannot help but admire the enthusiasm of the hon. Member for Belfast, South (Mr. Pounder), but he was expecting too much when he thought that perhaps the Bill was the proper medium for a comprehensive review of the social services. The hon. Member went on to speak about the Post Office official who had retired, and suggested that the dates should not be fixed but should be according to a...
Mr Thomas Steele: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. When we have discussed pensions increase legislation in the past, always we have had this problem about raising matters which we were told were outside the scope of the Bill; yet in every debate we have discussed economic matters and questions of inflation. It seems that the only matter that we cannot discuss is that involving a group of pensioners...
Mr Thomas Steele: Will my right bon. Friend consider Motion No. 18?
Mr Thomas Steele: On a point of order. In view of what you have just said, Mr. Speaker, will my right hon. Friend now answer my original question, whether the two can be taken together?
Mr Thomas Steele: Will my hon. Friend make it clear that the circular is advisory and not mandatory on local authorities?
Mr Thomas Steele: Whisky and women!
Mr Thomas Steele: My right hon. Friend will be aware that the Secretary of State for Scotland is the Minister in charge of health in Scotland. Will the new arrangement of the combination of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Security cover the whole of the United Kingdom? What will be the situation concerning the Secretary of State for Scotland under the new arrangement?
Mr Thomas Steele: I beg to move, Amendment No. 18, page 18, line 26, leave out 'and' and insert: (e) arrangements for the co-operation of the local authorities with each other regarding the performance of functions under this section; and. This Amendment adds a new paragraph to subsection (3) of Clause 27. Under that subsection it is necessary for local authorities to have a probation scheme to make provision...
Mr Thomas Steele: We must face the fact that we now have the Bill in its present form. I could have argued about what I would like the Bill to do, but it is too late for that now. I have made a plea for a scheme which would, I trust, make the provisions of the Bill more successful.
Mr Thomas Steele: I must confess that I made my point very badly if I gave my hon. Friend that impression. I said that it would be necessary and essential to use that expertise and that local authorities would welcome it. I said they would be reluctant to implement the provisions of this Bill.
Mr Thomas Steele: Many of my hon. Friends have taken the discussion much wider than I did initially. That may have been my own fault. I was trying to say that I accepted the Bill as it is now and that the probation service would be incorporated in the new social work department. We had the key to this matter in my hon. Friend's reply when he said that the local authorities were not prepared to consider any...
Mr Thomas Steele: That was my understanding. I apologise to my hon. Friend. I understand that my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) got the same impression. In any event, it seems that this is the key. Just as the local authorities will consider the question of combinations after they receive the report of the Royal Commission, I say to my hon. Friend—and this is the warning that I...
Mr Thomas Steele: Is my hon. Friend aware of the dangers to agriculture because of the fall-out of dust from such an installation? May we have assurances that before planning permission is given any company which succeeds in going ahead with the project will give all the assurances necessary to ensure that there will be no nuisance of that kind?