HC Deb 14 May 1957 vol 570 cc195-6
15. Mr. T. Fraser

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he proposes to review the structure of local government in Scotland.

Mr. J. N. Browne

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Sir W. Anstruther-Gray) on 9th May.

Mr. Fraser

Does not the hon. Gentleman appreciate that there has been no review of the local government structure in Scotland for nigh on thirty years, and that a few years ago all the local authority associations in Scotland, in their evidence before the Royal Commission on Scottish Affairs, expressed the view that there ought to be a full inquiry into the structure of local government?

Mr. Browne

I should not like to debate with the hon. Member exactly what the local authority associations did say before the Royal Commission, but I would advise him that I first gave the House this information on 1st November, 1955, when I said in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) that the review of local government finance is not associated in Scotland with the reform of local government organisation."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st November, 1955; Vol. 545, c. 829.] Since then, there has been no approach to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on this matter from any of the principal associations of local authorities.

Mr. McInnes

Would the hon. Gentleman indicate, in view of the alterations which are taking place in the organisation of local government in England and Wales, that the time has now arrived, whether there is a demand from the local authority associations or not, for the Scottish Office to take the initiative?

Mr. Browne

If the hon. Member will refer to the Answer given by my right hon. Friend to a Question, to which I have already referred, he will see that he said that he had no evidence of any general demand for a change in the structure of local government in Scotland.