HC Deb 01 August 1961 vol 645 cc1122-4
11. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's present policy regarding the Local Government Commission for Wales.

Mr. Brooke

The Local Government Commission for Wales were appointed under the Local Government Act, 1958, and their review of local authorities is following the procedure laid down by that Act. The Commission have not yet made any recommendations to me. They have published draft proposals as a basis for discussion with local authorities and other bodies concerned.

Mr. Donnelly

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is the most comprehensive and far-reaching reform of local government in Wales since the formation of the county councils? Will he give same idea of the intended timetable? I do not hold him to that firmly, but it would be useful to know what is in the Government's mind when the House is called upon to make judgments about the Minister's views.

Mr. Brooke

I cannot give an exact timetable. The Local Government Commission gave the local authorities eight weeks in which to express their views on the draft proposals and I think that it has expressed willingness to extend that period of eight weeks. After that, the Local Government Commission has a statutory duty to hold a conference with the local authorities concerned. Only after that will the Commission send in to me its draft proposals. Then I must publish them and then there will be further opportunity for objection and public inquiry. Quite a lot has to be done.

Mr. C. Hughes

Where far-reaching proposals of this kind are made, is it not desirable that the Commission should give the fullest reasons why it is making these recommendations? Will the Minister require it do so in due course?

Mr. Brooke

The Local Government Commission in this case has given fuller reasons than, for example, the Local Government Commission for England gave in relation to its first draft proposals. If subsequent proceedings of the Local Government Commission for England are any guide, any report and recommendations put forward to the Minister will be advanced with a full wealth of argument and explanation.