Legislative Programme

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:21 am on 16th June 1999.

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Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party 11:21 am, 16th June 1999

Can Hugh Henry name the council or the councillor? As he is not prepared to name a councillor or any council, I will continue.

Under the principle of subsidiarity, each council should be free to establish its own code of conduct, albeit within a national framework in consultation with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and other interested parties.

We are keen to know whether the bill will cover quangos-whether quangos will be subject to the same rigorous scrutiny as councils and councillors-and whether it will allow for a register of senior staff interests, including political interests.

Through COSLA, local government has produced the document, "A Local Government Contract for Scotland". It is regrettable that that was not touched on in the First Minister's statement.

We were not aware that the McIntosh commission would be debated before the recess.

It would have been helpful if the First Minister had indicated his commitment to the McIntosh commission, particularly as new Labour made no submission to either consultation document.

We realise that the First Minister's statement was only a broad outline, that we are all here for the long haul and that Rome was not built in a day. However, in his starting line-up the First Minister could have clarified the Executive's plans to undertake a comprehensive review of local government finance; end challenge funding and annual bidding; extend rather than erode the number of services that are under democratic control; secure proportional representation in local government; introduce a power of general competence for local government; impose cabinets on local government; and return water to local authority control.

We are pleased that the Executive wishes to enhance the reputation of local government and is committed to high standards in local government. We will work constructively with the Executive to achieve that aim.