HC Deb 07 April 1971 vol 815 cc427-8
11. Mr. Adam Hunter

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from individuals, organisations and local authorities objecting to the division of Fife arising from the reform of local government proposals for Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

Objections have been received from three individuals, seven organisations, and 12 local authorities, none of which brings out any consideration which has not already been taken into account.

Mr. Hunter

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the trickle of objections now will become a flood in the months to come? Does not he agree that the imposition of toll charges for crossing a road bridge over a river within a region is wrong and an unjust expense for those who have to travel across the river to reach the centre of the region? Will he reconsider his proposals in respect of Fife?

Mr. Campbell

On the question of tolls, the answer is "No". Our reasons for the proposed division of Fife are set out in paragraph 48 of the White Paper on the Reform of Local Government. The objective evidence makes it clear that on the basis of practical needs and community of interest, South Fife would best be included in the region centred on Edinburgh, and North Fife in the east region. The Wheatley Commission took the same view.

Sir J. Gilmour

My right hon. Friend has granted a separate regional authority to the Borders and he and the Government are fighting against inflation. Does he not agree that, unless he can prove that the breaking-up of Fife brings commensurate financial benefits, it would be a wilful act to put an additional cost on the ratepayers of Fife? Is this not something he should resist?

Mr. Campbell

I agree that financial as well as other considerations must be borne in mind. I remind my hon. Friend that my own county of Moray and Nairn is one of the most efficient in the country but I nevertheless propose that it should be split between two regions also.

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