HC Deb 03 May 1971 vol 816 cc994-5
16. Mr. John

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he proposes to publish details of the new proposals for local government finance in Wales.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

The Government will publish later this year a Green Paper dealing with local government finance.

Mr. John

Does the hon. Gentleman not understand that to publish a consultative document without the basis for financing it is rather like publishing a menu without prices, and that many local authorities, such as Powys, cannot possibly consider adequately the viability of their areas as local authority units without knowing the financial considerations involved? Will he not take note of the anxieties being expressed by local authorities over the absence of financial details at this stage?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

With respect to the hon. Gentleman, that did not stop the previous Government bringing forward a White Paper on local government reform. At the same time, I accept what he says, and the Green Paper will examine the present system and any reforms which may be necessary.

Mr. Elystan Morgan

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether strategic decisions in relation to local government finances were already taken before the Welsh Office published a White Paper on local government reorganisation some months ago?

Mr. Gibson-Watt

That is another question.