To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply of 20 January, Official Report, column 960, regarding the introduction of competition into the management of local authority sports and leisure facilities, he is now able to make a statement on the responses to the relevant consultation paper; and if he will make a statement.
[holding answer 24 March 1988]: We have yet to complete our detailed consideration of the more than 350 responses to consultation. If we do decide to apply the competition provisions of part I of the Local Government Bill to the management of sport and leisure facilities, we shall lay an order to that effect after the Bill becomes law. The nature and timing of the order-making procedure (including the necessary consultation which would have to be undertaken on the terms of the Order), would preclude the implementation of compulsory competition for the management of sport and leisure facilities in April 1989. If we do go ahead, some delay beyond that date is inevitable. My right hon. Friend will make a statement about implementation for the activities listed in the Bill shortly.