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Public Inquiry (Edinburgh)

Volume 80: debated on Wednesday 12 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has received the report of the public local inquiry held in Edinburgh on 20 May; and if he will make a statement.

I received the report of the local inquiry on 4 June. Having considered the report carefully, I am satisfied that the City of Edinburgh district council is in default of its statutory duties under sections 23A of the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1972 and section 108(2) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, namely, to limit the amount of contribution out of their general fund to the estimated housing revenue account for the year 1985-86 to an amount not exceeding £2·824 million and to determine such district rate as will provide sufficient moneys to meet such part of the total estimates expenses to be incurred by the authority during the year 1985–86 as falls to be met out of moneys raised by rates.Accordingly, I have today made an order under section 211 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 requiring Edinburgh district council to remedy its default within 21 days by revising its estimated housing revenue account so as to budget for a rate fund contribution within the limit set, and also by reducing the district rate by at least l·8p in the pound, and to take all necessary steps to give full effect to these decisions. Copies of the inquiry report and of the default order have been placed in the Library of the House.The l·8p in the pound reduction now required is in addition to a reduction of 5·2p in the pound which I have proposed in terms of section 5 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1966 on the grounds that Edinburgh district council's planned non-housing expenditure for 1985–86 is excessive and unreasonable.