HC Deb 23 June 1971 vol 819 cc1418-9
29. Mr. Douglas

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a White Paper giving details of the boundary changes which Scottish local authorities have proposed to those specified in Command Paper No. 5483, February, 1971, with an indication of his views on these proposals.

Mr. Younger

My right hon. Friend has received about 170 suggestions relating to more than 80 proposed boundary adjustments, and he is considering all these at present. I do not think it would serve any useful purpose to publish them.

Mr. Douglas

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that that is a very disappointing reply? If he cannot publish this information in a White Paper, will he see that the views of the local authorities are put in the Library so that hon. Members may know those views, especially the excellent proposals submitted to him by the county council of Stirling?

Mr. Younger

I am interested in what the hon. Gentleman says. However, to try to publish all this information would be a very difficult operation. Of the 170 suggestions proposing 80 changes, many are mutually contradictory. It would be very difficult to publish all of them in such a way that everyone concerned could make up his mind. I have undertaken to consider all these representations carefully and to consult some of the local authorities where further information appears to be necessary before a decision can be made.

Mr. Robert Hughes

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the unanimous opposition of the Aberdeen council to the proposal that Aberdeen should no longer be a one-tier authority? If he will not consult my friends on the council, will he consult his own friends, since they are equally adamant in their opposition?

Mr. Younger

I am aware of the very strong views of local authorities in Scotland about local government reform. They do not alter the fact that we must consider the proposals for change in a careful and calm spirit. As I said, we shall consult local authorities where we think that further information will be helpful to us.