HC Deb 26 May 1960 vol 624 cc665-6
22. Mr. Braine

asked the Minister of Education whether he will take into account the views expressed to him by the Urban District Councils' Association before implementing that recommendation of the Roberts Committee on the structure of the public library service in England and Wales which will prohibit a borough or urban district from becoming a library authority unless it has a population of 50,000.

Sir D. Eccles

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Braine

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that it was—I hope it still is—Government policy to devolve responsibility on the lower tiers of local authority, and in that connection will he bear in mind that there is a large number of authorities in this country with populations near, and perhaps under, 50,000 which have the will and enthusiasm to become library authorities?

Sir D. Eccles

I will, and I am now beginning my conversations with the local authority associations on this matter.

Mr. Greenwood

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when he expects to be able to introduce legislation on the subject, and can he ensure that the House has an opportunity of discussing it before he does so?

Sir D. Eccles

The answer to that depends on how well I get on in my conversations with the local authorities. I am as anxious as the hon. Gentleman that we should press this matter to a conclusion.