HC Deb 28 June 1938 vol 337 cc1685-6
45. Mr. Mathers

asked the Prime Minister whether he has considered the memorandum submitted by the Royal Sanitary Association of Scotland calling for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into local government administration in Scotland; and whether he is prepared to comply with the request made?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)

I have seen the memorandum referred to and have consulted my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. As at present advised, I am not satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into Scottish local government administration, but the views expressed by the association have been noted and a careful watch will be kept on the working of Scottish local government arrangements, particularly in their relation to central Departments and commissions.

Mr. Mathers

Does not the Prime Minister realise that this agitation has been going on for a number of years; and does he not recognise that in this memorandum there are very powerful reasons why a comprehensive inquiry should now be held into the question of Scottish local government?

Mr. Davidson

Is the Prime Minister aware that Scottish local administration is retarded in its efficiency by bad national administration?

The Prime Minister

I am aware that this is a question which has been raised from time to time over a considerable number of years. The matter has been carefully examined in the Scottish Office I understand, and the result of that examination is that, as at present advised, there is not sufficient ground for the appointment of a Royal Commission. But as I have said to the hon. Member, I myself have read the memorandum in question, and I recognise that there are important matters raised in it which will be kept under consideration.

Mr. Mathers

Are we to understand that at some future time when more informa tion has been gathered, the question of appointing a Royal Commission to inquire into the whole matter will be considered?

The Prime Minister

That is not excluded.