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Local Government Reform

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) whether home helps will be able to stand in elections to any new single-tier local authorities proposed in his White Paper on the reform of Scottish local government:(2) if he will make a statement on disqualification from standing for elections to the new councils proposed in the White Paper on the reform of Scottish local government.

The question of the eligibility of local authority employees to stand for election to the authority which employs them was among the issues considered in our recent consultation paper "The Internal Management of Local Authorities in Scotland". Responses to this paper are currently being analysed and a decision on this issue will be taken in the light of these.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish the written remit of the review of local government in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

The Government's first consultation paper on local government reform in Scotland, issued in June 1991, set out the principles on which the new system should be based. These included the need for the new system to reflect local loyalties and allegiances, to be efficient, accountable to its electorate and cost-effective.

The principles were widely endorsed by those who responded to the consultation paper and formed the basis for the local government structure proposed in the White Paper published by my right hon. Friend on 8 July.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what powers he has to prevent asset stripping by a district council prior to a reorganisation of local government;(2) if he will make a statement on the powers the Commissioner for Local Government has to investigate complaints of discrimination made by residents within a district council;(3) what statutes govern the holding by a district council of a referendum in all or part of its area;(4) what powers he has to change a capital programme, submitted by a district council, to ensure that the programme is not discriminatory against a particular geographical area;(5) what plans he has to provide that in a referendum organised by a district council prominence is given by that council to all viewpoints on the isue of the referendum;(6) what powers he has to prevent a district coucil discriminating against residents in part of its area;(7) what requirements are imposed on district councils on the conduct of referendums.

The issues raised by the hon. Member are serious and important and I shall write to him as soon as possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland who has made representations to him concerning the transfer of Chryston, Stepps and the Moodiesburn ward from Strathkelvin in the proposed East Dunbartonshire to the proposed Lanarkshire, North; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 23 July 1993]: I shall write to the hon. Member and arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what is his estimate of the final cost of the consultation processes with regard to both local government reorganisation and changes to the water and sewerage services in Scotland;(2) what plans he has to bring forward his proposals for local government reorganisation in a separate Bill from the one containing his proposals for water and sewerage services;(3) when he expects to be able to bring forward legislation to implement the White Paper on local government reorganisation;(4) what plans he has to establish an executive body to operate the Glasgow underground following local government reorganisation;(5) what assessment he has made of the financial consequences of local government reorganisation for the operation of the Land Register.

I shall write to the hon. Member and arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what consideration was given to the establishment of an independent commission to examine the reorganisation of Scottish local government; what representations he received advocating that such a commission be established; what assessment was made of the costs of establishing such a commission; on what basis he decided not to establish such a commission; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will meet the regional council directors of planning to discuss the implications for planning services arising from the reorganisation of Scottish local government; and if he will make a statement;(3) what steps he is taking to minimise disruption arising from the reorganisation of Scottish local government to

(a) planning services, (b) environmental health services, (c) housing as a local authority service, (d) industrial development and (e) urban regeneration; and if he will make a statement;

(4) what evidence he has considered in assessing the level of voter satisfaction with the existing structure of local government in Scotland; what steps he has taken in order to determine the level of voter satisfaction with that structure; what further steps he intends to take to determine the level of voter satisfaction with that structure, and if he will make a statement;

(5) what assessment he has made as part of the reorganisation of Scottish local government of the optimum authority size necessary to ensure adequate service provision; and if he will make a statement;

(6) what evidence he has considered in assessing the extent to which the electorate identify with the existing councils in their locality; and if he will make a statement;

(7) if he will meet the regional council directors of transport to discuss the implications for transport services arising from the reorganisation of Scottish local government; and if he will make a statement.

I shall write to the hon. Member and arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (I) if he will estimate the cost to each regional, district and island authority of the task of local government reorganisation;(2) if he will publish details of the specific criteria used to determine the boundaries of each of the proposed new single-tier authorities; and if he will list the key criteria for each individual authority;(3) what is his estimate of

(a) the number of anticipated redundancies and (b) the cost of redundancy payments resulting from the anticipated job losses associated with his local government reorganisation proposals; and if he will break these figures down for each regional, district and island authority;

(4) if he will meet the regional council directors of education to discuss the implications for the provision of education services arising out of the reorganisation of Scottish local government; and if he will make a statement;

(5) what steps he is taking to minimise disruption arising from the reorganisation of Scottish local government to the provision of (a) transport services, (b) police and fire services, (c) social work services and (d) education services; and if he will make a statement;

(6) if he will give details of his Department's estimate of savings resulting from the reorganisation of Scottish local government for each regional, district and island authority;

(7) if he will meet the regional council directors of roads services to discuss the implications for roads services arising from the reorganisation of Scottish local government; and if he will make a statement;

(8) if he will publish details of which local authority boundaries were recommended to be coterminous with which health board or local enterprise boundary; and if he will identify the respondents making such recommendations;

(9) if he will meet the regional council directors of social work to discuss the implications for social work services arising out of the reorganisation of Scottish local government; and if he will make a statement;

(10) if he will list the names of those respondents expressing concern about the possibility of local government reorganisation jeopardising future funding for voluntary organisations; and if he will provide a geographical breakdown of this information by regional, district and island authority area;

(11) if he will produce a list of the organisations referred to by those respondents referring to links with other bodies and identify which respondents referred to links with which body; and if he will provide a geographical breakdown of this information by regional, district and island authority area;

(12) if he will publish a list of the names of those respondents who criticised the short-term costs of the reform of Scottish local government reorganisation; and if he will provide a geographical breakdown of this information by regional, district and island authority area;

(13) if he will publish a list of the names of those respondents who welcomed reform of Scottish local government as representing long-term savings; and if he will provide a geographical breakdown of this information by regional, district and island authority area;

(14) if he will list the names of those respondents who commented on the transitional arrangements to be made for (a)local authority property, (b) local authority information technology, (c) local authority compulsory competitive tendering and (d) local authority staff in their submissions to the consultation paper "Shaping the New Councils"; and if he will provide a geographical breakdown of this information by regional, district and island authority area;

(15) if he will list the names of those respondents to the consultation paper "Shaping the New Councils" who were not supportive of local government reorganisation; and if he will provide a geographical breakdown of this information by regional, district and island authority area;

(16) if he will list the names of those respondents to the consultation paper "Shaping the New Councils" who were not supportive of the proposal to reorganise Scottish local government into single-tier authorities; and if he will provide a geographical breakdown of this information by regional, district and island authority area;

(17) if he will list the names of those organisations whose submissions to the consultation paper "Shaping the New Councils" whose preferred local government structure for Scotland as a whole was to retain the regions; and if will provide a breakdown of this information by regional, district and island authority area;

(18) if he will list the names of those respondents to the consultation paper "Shaping the New Councils" who commented on community councils; and if he will provide a geographical breakdown of this information by regional, district and island authority area;

(19) if he will list the names of those respondents who recommended that local authority boundaries should be coterminous with health board or local enterprise company boundaries in their submissions to the consultation paper "Shaping the New Councils"; and if he will provide a geographical breakdown of this information by regional, district and island authority area;

(20) if he will list the names of those respondents who referred to the costs of reform in their submissions to the consultation paper "Shaping the New Councils".

I shall write to the hon. Member and arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what representations he has had from foreign owned water companies in response to the consultation paper "Investing in Our Future" during the recent consultation exercise and since the publication of "Shaping the Future—The New Councils";(2) if he will list the organisations which supported option

(d) in the consultation paper "Investing in Our Future" during the recent consultation exercise;

(3) what role the local authority ombudsman will have within the new councils in Scotland;

(4) if he will list the individuals or organisations who expressed a preference for three-yearly local government elections in the course of the recent consultation exercise on local government reform;

(5) what approval a council will need to change its name after the new local authority structure has been established; and what statutory construction exercise with the public will be expected;

(6) what is the expected increase in water charges as a result of investment in water and sewerage services in the next five years;

(7) when he expects to publish fuller details of his plans for the water and sewerage services in Scotland;

(8) what meetings he has had with representatives from Milngavie district council and Eastwood district council since the publication of "Shaping the Future—The New Councils" to discuss the new council structure;

(9) if he will publish the names of individuals or organisations who supported the view that there should be multi-member divisions in the course of the recent consultation exercise on local government reform;

(10) if he will publish the names of those organisations or individuals that made representations supporting (a) Westhill belong included within Aberdeen city council and (b) the creation of North Lanarkshire council during the recent consultation exercise on local government reform;

(11) what representations he received from individuals and organisations that there should be separate water authorities for each island authority during the recent consultation exercise;

(12) what representations were received supporting the formation of a national service for the reporter to children's hearings during the recent consultation exercise on local government reform; and if he will list the individuals and organisations;

(13) when the Local Government Boundary Commission will conduct a review of boundaries after the new councils have been created in Scotland;

(14) when the elections for the shadow authorities will be held in 1995; and if there are any plans to change the traditional arrangements;

(15) when he intends to consult further regarding the future of water and sewerage services in Scotland; and what form this consultation will take;

(16) which private companies and organisations have made representations to be involved in the provision of water and sewerage services during the recent consultation exercise on local government reform;

(17) what plans he has to meet the present regional and district councils in Scotland to discuss transitional arrangements regarding the formation of the new councils;

(18) if he will list the posts the holders of which will not be eligible to stand for election for the new councils;

(19) what representations he received from islands authorities that the elections to the three islands councils should be held in 1994 and subsequently delayed until 1999 during the recent consultation exercise on local government reform;

(20) if he will publish details of the representations he has received from organisations and individuals that the new water authorities should have the power to disconnect water supplies during the recent consultation exercise;

I shall write to the hon. Member and arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he intends to make available to the proposed new local government authorities a general power of competency enabling them to do anything they think necessary for the benefit of the people they serve;(2) what plans he has to prescribe by law minimum standards for services provided by local authorities;(3) what representations he has received in the course of consultation on local government reorganisation concerning the national road network and the future role of local authorities as road authorities;(4) what has been the cost to date of the consultation process for local government reform in Scotland;(5) whether he intends to bring forward proposals to require elections for membership of the proposed new water authorities;(6) how many copies of the two consultation documents on local government reorganisation and the White Paper, "Shaping the Future—the New Councils" were published; what proportion of them were sold to the public; and how many further copies of the White Paper he intends to make available to the public;(7) what regulatory and financial controls he intends to implement with regard to the proposed new water authorities;(8) whether members of the proposed new water authorities must be elected local government councillors;(9) what plans he has to change the electoral system used in district and regional council elections;(10) Whether he has considered in terms of annex B paragraph 4 of the White Paper on local government reorganisation, the financial or manpower consequences of the establishment of joint boards in estimating a reduction in council staffing levels of between 700 and 2,200 employees;(11) whether he intends to make changes to the current role of the Commission for Local Authority Accounts in Scotland in local government reorganisation;(12) how many representations he has received in favour of

(a) an electoral system based on proportional

representation and (b) specifically the single transferable vote electoral system, in connection with his proposals to reorganise local government in Scotland;

(13) what criteria he has taken into account in proposing a Lothians council which is not geographically contiguous;

(14) how many of his Department's officials were involved in the drafting of the two consultation documents on local government reorganisation and the White Paper, "Shaping the Future—the New Councils";

(15) which interested persons he intends to consult in terms of paragraph 6·4 of the White Paper on local government reorganisation;

(16) what regard he had to the pre-1974 council boundaries in drawing up the proposed council boundaries as contained in the White Paper on local government reorganisation;

(17) if he will explain for what reasons in terms of paragraph 3·4 of the white paper on local government reorganisation, he proposes a power allowing the Secretary of State to approve joint boards for council co-operation; and what representations advocating such an approach he has received.

I shall write to the hon. Member and arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.