HC Deb 16 December 1970 vol 808 cc1335-6
23. Mr. Montgomery

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give a date for the publication of the White Paper on local government reform.

Mr. Peter Walker

It is intended to publish a White Paper in the New Year.

Mr. Montgomery

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, but would he bear in mind that the five county boroughs of the West Midlands are opposed to the Maud recommendation, and that as they had a drastic reorganisation in 1966 they feel that they should be exempt from any future reorganisation?

Mr. Walker

The boroughs concerned have certainly not hesitated to send me their views on this topic.

Mr. Crosland

Is it not rather curious that the Government can give us a fairly exact date for a White Paper on local government reorganisation but apparently can give us no date whatsoever for a statement on housing?

Mr. Walker

I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should take the phrase "in the New Year" as being an exact date.

36. Mrs. Knight

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to ensure that the interests of local government staff will be safeguarded during the course of local government reform.

Mr. Peter Walker

The interests of local government staff adversely affected by local government reorganisation will be safeguarded, and once the Government's proposals for that reorganisation are announced I intend to enter into consultations with representatives of those likely to be affected concerning the nature of the safeguards.

Mrs. Knight

Will the Minister recognise that local authorities are already undergoing quite a severe shake-up as a result of the Local Authority Social Services Act, and that this is in some ways detrimental to recruitment of, for instance, medical officers of health? Does he not think that it might be as well to let local authorities get over this shakeup before they are saddled with another burden of reorganisation?

Mr. Walker

I do not consider it right to delay more than is necessary the proper reform of local government, but we will certainly ensure that local government staff are properly safeguarded.