asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what instructions, guidance or directions he has issued to local authorities on the rights of local councillors to vote in councils or their committees on housing and planning; and if he will make a statement.
I have not issued any general instructions, guidance or directions on these matters. If the hon. Member has in mind the applications for dispensation I receive to remove disabilities decide what amount of new building is needed in their areas.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what the latest figures available are for council house building starts and completions; and what the comparative figures are for 1977 and 1967; and if he will make a statement.
The figures for England are as follows:imposed on councillors by the law on pecuniary interests, applications are dealt with according to the guidelines set out in appendix II to DOE circular 105/73.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment on which principles he decided that members of a local authority who had children at that local authority's schools were disqualified under section 94 of the Local Government Act 1972 from exercising their elected democratic right of speaking and voting.
I do not decide that councillors are disabled under section 94. However, in considering whether I may properly exercise my powers of dispensation under section 97 of the Act I take a view on whether, prima facie, there is a disability to remove. My recent dispensations to the members referred to were made on the basis of advice that there were pecuniary interests in respect of the consideration of charges for school meals, milk and transport, to which section 94 would apply. This is, however, a matter on which only the courts can give an authoritative ruling.