Development Corporations

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21 October 1992.

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Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram , East Kilbride 12:00, 21 October 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met the chairman of the Scottish New Town Development Corporation to discuss the future of the development corporations.

Photo of Mr Allan Stewart Mr Allan Stewart , East Renfrewshire

My right hon. and learned Friend and I met the chairmen and deputy chairmen on 5 October.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram , East Kilbride

Is the Minister aware of the deep unease and mistrust in the new towns of Scotland about the Government's policy to sell off the assets of those new towns under the demands of the Treasury? Does he accept that the Government have failed to give assurances that the district councils will be given proper resources if the new town tenants elect to choose those district councils as alternative landlords in the wind-up of new towns? Now that the new towns are to be faced with the uncertainty of local government reform, do the Government accept that it would be better to delay the wind-up until the whole question of local authority reform has been settled and shown to be effective?

Photo of Mr Allan Stewart Mr Allan Stewart , East Renfrewshire

In relation to the hon. Gentleman's first point, he may know that I have discussed this issue with SLANT—Scottish Local Authorities with New Towns—recently and I have made clear the Government's commitment to the diversification of tenure after the wind-up. I have also made clear the choice that will be available in respect of local authority tenants.

The reorganisation of local government has been addressed in the consultation paper. I note that the hon. Gentleman has a copy of it and I am sure that he has pored over it; I look forward to his response.

I do not believe that the hon. Gentleman's criticisms can be upheld. I had a meeting with the board of the East Kilbride development corporation on 13 October followed by a meeting with the East Kilbride business forum. Both of those meetings were constructive and useful.