Local Government (Scotland)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:23 pm on 17th June 1991.

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Photo of Tom Clarke Tom Clarke Shadow Minister (Disability) 4:23 pm, 17th June 1991

The timetable for consultations ends in October. What timetable do the Government have in mind for implementing their proposals? Why does the Secretary of State have so little faith in the proposals, given that there is probably wide acceptance of the case for single-tier local government? Why will he not have an independent commission? Why does the consultative paper hide behind the Wheatley commission and the Stodart committee? I was a member of the Stodart committee, and I remind the Secretary of State of its limited remit. For example, we were prevented from making a recommendation on the excellent evidence that we received from Rutherglen and Cambuslang. They could not understand why they were part of the Glasgow district, yet other areas, such as Eastwood and Bearsden, had autonomy.

Does the Secretary of State fear the response of the Scottish people? Why is he so blinkered about Europe? Why is the review separate from the review of local government finance? Does he accept that, if he is prepared to push ahead with Government thinking and disregard overwhelming Scottish opinion, that will enhance and not reduce the case for a Scottish parliament?