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Land Authority (Local Authority Agents)

Volume 890: debated on Monday 14 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has made with local authorities in Wales concerning agency arrangements under the Community Land Bill proposals; and if he will make a statement.

Meetings have been held with representatives of the Welsh Counties Committee and the Council for the Principality. I hope that estimates will shortly be available of the potential of each Welsh local authority to act as an agent of the Land Authority.

How does the Minister propose to distribute the 750 additional staff which will be required under the Bill as between the proposed Land Authority and the local authorities? Is not this a serious underestimate of the number of additional staff who will be required, in view of the fact that capital disposals, especially, will amount to between £50 million and £55 million a year?

I cannot answer the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question until I have seen the position in each county and district authority in terms of staffing. That is why I suggested to both local authority associations recently that they should get together and work out the potential staff required to implement the Community Land Bill. When I have the figures, I shall be in a position to reply more effectively to the hon. Gentleman's question.

As for the second half of the supplementary question, I do not think that the figure referred to is a serious underestimate. It is the best estimate that we can make based upon the number of transactions. It is a reasonable estimate on the existing assumption that we make.