Local Government (Scotland)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:03 pm on 17th January 1983.

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Photo of Mr John Maxton Mr John Maxton , Glasgow Cathcart 9:03 pm, 17th January 1983

I hope that the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Ancram) is a better lawyer than he is economist. He certainly is no economist, as he proved during his speech, because he does not understand economics. With his last point he followed his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in seeking yet again higher unemployment in Scotland. That is what he means when he advocates cutting manpower and cutting out wastage in local government. He is talking about more unemployment and adding more people to the dole queues in Scotland.

I make the point that I have made time and again. I am sure that it is getting a bit boring now. The debate should be taking place not in this Chamber but in an assembly in Scotland. We should have two or three days to discuss the matter fully and local authority representatives should not have to spend large sums to come down here to talk to us. They should be meeting us in Edinburgh. That is where the debates should be taking place, and that is where, when the next Labour Government come to power they will take place.

The Secretary of State for Scotland and the former Secretary of State for the Environment, the right hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine), according to the newspapers just before Christmas, were competing for the post of Secretary of State for Defence. The Secretary of State for Scotland lost that particular battle. I gather that he lost it because it was considered that the right hon. Member for Henley would do a better job in combating the peace campaign.