HC Deb 29 April 1964 vol 694 cc391-2
29. Dr. Dickson Mabon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made by the Working Party on the reform of local government in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Noble

The Working Party's first report will be considered by the Steering Committee of elected members at a meeting on 1st May under the chairmanship of my noble Friend, the Minister of State.

Dr. Mabon

Is the Secretary of State not finding from information he receives from the Committee that there are so many imponderables and unknowns—for example, the absence of a report from the Allen Committee on the question of the working of the rating system, the burden on the police and so on—that he has been somewhat premature in setting up this Working Party?

Mr. Noble

There certainly are some imponderables in local government finance, but when the Steering Committee agreed to go into the problem it was agreed that the problem of local government finance should be considered at the same time. I do not anticipate, as I have said to the Standing Committee, that we are likely to get a final report for perhaps at least another year.