HC Deb 12 March 1935 vol 299 c186

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction widely felt in Scotland with the working of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1929; whether he has considered the report on the subject by the small burghs committee of the Convention of Royal Burghs; and whether he proposes to appoint a committee to inquire into the administration of the Act, and to make recommendations for its amendment?


I am not satisfied that there is such a desire throughout Scotland for a general inquiry of this kind as would justify the setting up of a committee at this time. The views recently expressed by the small burghs committee of the Convention of Royal Burghs are presently under consideration and reports have been called for from the Departments on the matters in question. As regards the financial questions involved, early steps will be taken, as required by the Act of 1929, to investigate its financial working in consultation with local authorities before the expiry of the second fixed grant period on 15th May, 1937.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Prime Minister when head of the previous Government said that there should be an inquiry into the working of this Act as soon as sufficient time had elapsed to enable experience of it to be gained; and has not the time now arrived for such an inquiry, seeing that the small burghs themselves want it?


Public opinion on this matter has moved considerably within the last two years. I have in view all the circumstances of the case and the opinions presently held in Scotland, and I think the answer that I have given represents the view of the Government on the matter.