§ 28. Dr. Dickson Mabon
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultations he has had with the statutory 369 water boards in Scotland about the forthcoming reform of local government as outlined in Command Paper No. 4583.
§ 25. Mr. Gourlay
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has had from statutory water boards in Scotland about the proposals for the reform of local government as stated in Command Paper No. 4583; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. George Younger
My right hon. Friend has asked the Scottish Water Advisory Committee to consider future arrangements for administering the water service, in the light of our White Paper. I understand that all water boards have been invited to submit evidence to the Committee, and the Fife and Kinross Water Board have sent my right hon. Friend a copy of their written evidence.
§ Dr. Mabon
Since we have heard today that the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Education has been gagged by the Prime Minister on matters concerning the Common Market, are we to take it that the Secretary of State is gagging the Water Advisory Committee by the narrow and restrictive remit he has given it? Is it not fair that the Committee should be entitled to make comments going wider than that remit? Since water is in public ownership in Scotland, should not the Committee be allowed to consider whether water should be nationally and not regionally organised?
§ Mr. Younger
No one in this Government has been gagged by anyone. That may be how things are operated in Labour Governments, but it is not the way things are done in this Government.
The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the Water Advisory Committee has been asked to consider the future organisation of water services in the light of the reform of local government. It is open to the Committee to produce any recommendations it thinks fit, but I gather that all concerned have accepted the general proposition that the future organisation of water supplies should relate to the new functioning of regional government.