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No strings to devolution

The Scottish parliament promised in last week's White Paper will have responsibility for all aspects of education from pre-school to universities. The only area not to be devolved is Scottish involvement with the UK research councils.

Brian Wilson, Education and Industry Minister, said: "I am minister for everything from pre-fives to saving the closure-threatened Monktonhall colliery. In terms of democratic responsibility that is indefensible."

Although an opponent of devolution under the Callaghan government in the 1970s, Mr Wilson now believes that a Scottish parliament will bring greater accountability and improve links between education and training. "We will also not have to wait in queues for opportunities to legislate when that is necessary," he said.

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