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District Councils (Powers)

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment which particular local government powers he proposes returning to selected district councils as envisaged in the Gracious Speech.

The Government are currently considering proposals for the transfer to selected district councils which seek such additional powers the responsibility for personal social services, education, highways and traffic management, and planning. For personal social services we have concluded that the case for transfer to some districts over 100,000 in population is in principle strong, and we are considering further how these districts might be defined; on education we propose that the case for change should be examined individually for any of the nine largest non-metropolitan districts which wish to seek these powers; for highways and traffic, where some powers are already exercised by certain districts as agents, we are considering the possibility that some districts should exercise powers in their own right; and we propose to place upon all district councils the sole responsibility for planning decisions for all but a narrow group of specific matters. There will soon be further consultations in preparation for legislation.