HC Deb 13 May 1969 vol 783 cc1196-7
6. Mr. E. Rowlands

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

Mr. George Thomas

Consultations with the local authority associations have been in progress for some months on a wide range of issues which will require to be dealt with in legislation on this matter. The talks which have been detailed and helpful are continuing.

Mr. Rowlands

Would my right hon. Friend confirm that the so-called "shadow plan" published in the Western Mail recently was an accurate account of an alternative which my right hon. Friend had rejected? Would he not reconsider at least one aspect of that plan, the radical reform of local Government in South Wales, which would not be done under the present proposal?

Mr. Thomas

Fortunately, I do not have to confirm or deny what is in the Western Mail. It is a very interesting newspaper, and I am a faithful reader, but I cannot go any further than that.

Mr. Birch

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that district councils seem to have sustained a different impression of what their powers are to be under the new legislation than the one put forward by the Minister of State? Would it not be better if the right hon. Gentleman issued a statement of exactly what the proposals for those powers were?

Mr. Thomas

The statement of my hon. Friend was entirely accurate, and consultations with the local authority associations are making this clear.