Local Government Finance

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 28th June 1995.

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Photo of Mrs Irene Adams Mrs Irene Adams , Paisley North 2:30 pm, 28th June 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next plans to meet the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to discuss local government finance. [29381]

Photo of Mr George Kynoch Mr George Kynoch , Kincardine and Deeside

My right hon. Friend and I are due to meet representatives of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on 24 July, as part of the normal consultation on local government finance matters.

Photo of Mrs Irene Adams Mrs Irene Adams , Paisley North

Does the Minister recall. that, in April, I tabled a number of questions asking the Scottish Office to investigate the alleged misuse of urban aid money? The reply was that it was not the job of the Scottish Office to audit or to investigate that matter. The following week, the Scottish Office sent a letter to all regional and district local authorities telling them that they were now responsible for the auditing and accounting of urban aid money. Will the Minister say who has been responsible for monitoring and auditing urban aid money for the last 20 years?

Photo of Mr George Kynoch Mr George Kynoch , Kincardine and Deeside

I have not seen the details to which the hon. Lady referred, but if she will contact me later with those details, I will look into the matter and provide a full answer.

Photo of John Reid John Reid , Motherwell North

I do not want to break up the hostile atmosphere, but may I say how much we enjoyed the Minister's two recent visits to my constituency, not least because he set the precedent of being the Conservative Minister who turned up to open factories rather than the reverse? I give him credit for some of the finance that the Government have been prepared to put into Motherwell district council. In the midst of the present hysteria, will he have the courage and integrity to reciprocate by recognising the constructive role that has been played by Motherwell district councillors and by councillors in Lanarkshire and throughout Scotland? Their commitment, energy and dedication are given for very little reward and they are a prime example of what Britain could do with more of—a commitment to public service.

Photo of Mr George Kynoch Mr George Kynoch , Kincardine and Deeside

I am pleased that the hon. Gentleman was able to turn up on the two occasions when I was in his constituency. Sometimes, when I go to open factories and new investment sites, local Members are unable to turn up and share the good news. He is absolutely right to say that much of that good news has been brought about by a partnership. I single out not just district councils which have been involved but Locate in Scotland and local enterprise companies. The local enterprise company in the hon. Gentleman's area, Lanarkshire development agency, has been remarkably successful. I hope that he will join me in giving it credit as well.