HC Deb 21 January 1970 vol 794 cc506-7
32. Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received so far from harbour boards in Scotland about the proposals of the Wheatley Report; and what reply he has sent.

Mr. Ross

Fifteen harbour authorities have jointly represented to me that the recommendations in the Wheatley Report about the future responsibility for harbours and piers should be rejected. Three of these authorities and one harbour authority member have written separately in similar terms.

These representations, which have been acknowledged, will be taken into account in our consideration of the structure of local government as a whole.

Mr. Wolrige-Gordon

While I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, is he aware that harbour authorities, as classified under Section 57 of the 1964 Act, have taken umbrage at being lumped into the Wheatley Report, with no evidence asked for or representations given? Indeed, there is some doubt whether they came within the remit of the Commission at all. Will they now be able to make representations to him or to a duly constituted commission and be able to deal with the question of finance?

Mr. Ross

They have already been able to make representations to me. Certainly no one will stop them making other representations.

Mr. Alasdair Mackenzie

Will the right hon. Gentleman agree that harbours can be administered more efficiently by a local body which knows conditions intimately than by a body based 100 miles away, which may be the effect of the proposals? Will he give attention to this when he considers the matter further?

Mr. Ross

I will give consideration to the representations made to me in respect of this and many other related points.