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Lord Provost Of Edinburgh

Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1980

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9.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he proposes to meet the Lord Provost of Edinburgh.

My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to do so.

In view of Edinburgh district council's abysmal house building record, will the Minister give a special award to the Lord Provost for his consistent approach to Tory Party policy? What advice has the Minister to give to the many thousands of people on the housing waiting lists who have no opportunity of a house in the near future?

I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's allegation. Edinburgh has a fine record under successive Conservative housing chairmen in providing for the housing needs of the community, as I know as a constituency Member from that city. The Secretary of State has in- creased the resources available to Edinburgh on the non-housing revenue account to allow young couples to have greater access to loans to purchase or improve their homes.

When my hon. Friend meets the Lord Provost will he discuss the possibility of protecting the hard hit ratepayers of the city of Edinburgh by restoring it to an all-purpose authority?

It is significant that Edinburgh's proposed rate increase is only 18 per cent. compared with the over 42 per cent. proposed by the Lothian region. The Stodart committee is examining the future of local government and it is able to make any recommendations that are consistent with the viability of existing local authorities.

With his knowledge of planning law will the Minister tell the chairman of any district or regional councils how the Government's half-baked proposals for enterprise zones will affect existing industry, particularly small businesses in the Dunfermline district?

It is unlikely that there will be an enterprise zone in Edinburgh. Nevertheless, it has been widely accepted that the sort of areas likely to be chosen for enterprise zones will have little prospect of encouraging industry without the kind of incentives the enterprise zone concept will provide.