Local Authorities (Decision making)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd April 1970.

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Photo of Mr Peter Doig Mr Peter Doig , Dundee West 12:00 am, 22nd April 1970

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will seek powers to enable him to review decisions by local authorities, particularly those made by committees, which are not subject to the approval of the local council.

Photo of Dr Dickson Mabon Dr Dickson Mabon , Greenock

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.

Photo of Mr Peter Doig Mr Peter Doig , Dundee West

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?

Dr. Mahon:

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.