HC Deb 09 December 1965 vol 722 cc580-1
10. Mr. Probert

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he will make a statement on the reorganisation of Wesh local government.

14. Mr. Thorneycroft

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will make a statement on the progress of his talks on local government reorganisation in Wales.

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. James Griffiths)

The Working Party, which I have set up to look into this matter, is hard at work in consultation with a group of people nominated by the local authority associations and chosen for their knowledge and experience of Wesh local government. The task of considering the functions as well as the boundaries of all tiers of local government in Wales is a big one. I shall, of course, present my proposals to the House as soon as possible.

Mr. Probert

Is my right hon. Friend aware that we on this side of the House wish to congratulate him on the energy shown by his Department in dealing with this very difficult subject? Will he bear in mind, when making proposals to the Welsh people, that if he made alternative schemes, local authorities would have an opportunity of studying the advantages of both?

Mr. Griffiths

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his suggestion and am glad to be able to assure him that I have this matter very much in mind. Experience has taught us that merely to produce proposals in a White Paper and put them before the local associations, without any alternative, has led us nowhere. I am indeed anxious to frame proposals, in association with them, which will lead to action and secure the kind of local government which is necessary in Wales for the future.

Mr. Thorneycroft

Since wide consultation must go on on this matter, would the right hon. Gentleman undertake to keep hon. Members for Welsh constituencies fully informed of the progress on this issue from time to time so that we can keep in touch with the developing situation?

Mr. Griffiths

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for that suggestion also. I will indeed keep in touch with hon. Members. I am anxious to carry with me not only the local authorities in Wales but Welsh hon. Members as well.