To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will ensure that when a new unitary authority has succeeded a number of old authorities the liability limit of 70 per cent. of costs for inherited legal commitments will be calculated by an aggregate total of the old authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Demitting local authorities' ability to commit their successors to capital expenditure in 1996–97 was restricted to 70 per cent., of each authorities' individual capital allocation. I have undertaken to give each successor authority a capital allocation equal to the amount of legal commitments they inherit from each of their predecessors, provided that the individual demitting authorities did not exceed their commitment limits. The mechanism which has been put in place for dealing with inherited legal commitments was proposed by and agreed with COSLA last year. I do not propose to change it now.