HC Deb 29 March 1927 vol 204 cc1031-3

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has received any protest from a public meeting of ratepayers in Cupar, Fife, against the action of the local town council in passing new standing orders abolishing the regular statutory meetings of the council for the approval of committee minutes and excluding the Press and the public; whether he has considered these new standing orders; and whether, in view of the provisions of the Town Councils (Scotland) Act, 1900, he will say what steps he proposes to take in the matter?

36. Mr. T. KENNEDY

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if his attention has been drawn to the recent adoption of new standing orders by the Cupar Town Council under which the business of the council and its committees is to be conducted in future in private; that no statutory meetings of the council are to be held this year except one in July to levy and impose rates and assessments for the year ending 15th May, 1928, and one in September to approve the abstract of accounts and minutes of committees for the year ending 15th May, 1927; that serious allegations have been made in public at ratepayers meetings regarding the reasons for the adoption of the new standing orders and the manner in which the financial business of the Cupar Town Council is transacted; and if he will cause inquiry to be made in order to find if the action of the council is in accordance with the Town Councils (Scotland) Act, 1900?


I propose to answer these questions together. I have received the resolution referred to. I have no jurisdiction in the matter, but I have made inquiries and have received a copy of the new standing orders. These orders provide inter alia for the holding of the statutory meetings of the council and for the admission of representatives of the Press thereto. The delegation of powers to committees is authorised by Section 74 of the Town Councils (Scotland) Act,. 1900; and in other respects the standing orders appear to be in conformity with that Act.


Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the holding of two meetings per annum is not subversive of the whole principle of local government?


I have said that it is in conformity with the Act of Parliament, and I have no right to interfere.


Has the right hon. Gentleman satisfied himself regarding the allegations made as to the conduct of business in this council and the allegations made in my question?


I have made inquiries, and as far as I have made inquiries I think that the action of the town council is within the terms of the Act of Parliament.