Local Government Finance

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

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Photo of Mr Gordon McMaster Mr Gordon McMaster , Paisley South 12:00, 21 October 1992

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next plans to meet representatives of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to discuss local authority funding.

Photo of Mr Allan Stewart Mr Allan Stewart , East Renfrewshire

My right hon. Friend and I met the convention on 5 October as part of the normal consultation on local government finance matters. I expect to have further meetings in due course.

Photo of Mr Gordon McMaster Mr Gordon McMaster , Paisley South

Given the appalling state of Scotland's economy, where the only growth industries are crime, unemployment and bad housing, will the Minister tell us what more the Secretary of State has surrendered in his secret talks with the Treasury? Is it true that the Secretary of State had not only meekly surrendered to massive public expenditure cuts without so much as a whimper but has nodded through the abandonment and abolition of the banded formula, which will deal a double body blow to Scotland? The Minister has been asked the question before: will he answer it today? When will the Secretary of State stop being the Cabinet's man in Scotland and start being Scotland's man in the Cabinet?

Photo of Mr Allan Stewart Mr Allan Stewart , East Renfrewshire

First, naturally, I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his elevation to the position of Scottish Whip. He had an excellent reputation for keeping order when he was leader of Renfrew district council, although I believe that his new task will be somewhat more challenging. Nevertheless, the whole House will wish him well.

Secondly, the hon. Gentleman is talking absolute nonsense, with his allegations about my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. If he is so worried about local government finance and its effects on the people of Scotland, I suggest that he and his party ask some Labour authorities how, if they have all those financial difficulties, they managed to give huge increases in salary to top officials across Scotland?