HC Deb 01 May 1947 vol 436 cc2171-2
74. Mr. Eric Fletcher

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the Report of the Local Government Boundary Commission, he is proposing to submit proposals for amending the Local Government (Boundary Commission) Act, 1945.

Mr. Bevan

The Report of the Commission is largely designed to focus discussion on certain main issues, and I should not propose legislation on these at this stage. The Commission also recommend one or two amendments of the machinery set up by the Act, and these are being examined.

Mr. H. D. Hughes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the report has drawn attention to loopholes in the Act which would make impossible various schemes for the reorganisation of local government which have been advanced by local authorities?

Mr. Bevan

To a large extent, the powers of the Commission are confined to readjustment of boundaries and not of counties. They have, however, called attention to a number of interesting suggestions made by local authorities as to the alteration in structure of local government, and I hope hon. Members and members of local governing bodies will give early and serious consideration to it.

Mr. Fletcher

In view of the Commission's recommendation that powers should be extended to enable them to perform their functions, will the Minister reconsider the desirability of introducing the necessary amending legislation recommended?

Mr. Bevan

I would prefer the whole matter to be examined in a kind of national discussion and debate, because it may be necessary to alter the Commission's powers very widely indeed.