No, Sir. Within their statutory powers local authorities have discretion to take their own decisions and to delegate decision-making to their committees. I would not think it right to seek to restrict their discretion.
Is my hon. Friend aware that in Dundee recently 29 new houses built to standard building regulations were liable to be knocked down simply because a committee of the corporation, not the corporation itself, had power to take such a decision? Does not he feel that there should be a fall-back power to the Secretary of State in exceptional cases to avoid this stupidity?
My hon. Friend has great experience of local government and was a distinguished treasurer for the City of Dundee, but, as he knows, the buildings authority in Dundee is composed of elected members, nominated by the local authority and is an independent body created by the Buildings (Scotland) Act. The point he makes is a fair one, and I shall look into the matter in view of the progress of legislation elsewhere.