HC Deb 08 March 1972 vol 832 cc1423-4
9. Miss Lestor

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what sociological survey was carried out by his Department to study the effect on communities of the proposed local government reorganisation.

Mr. Graham Page

The Government's proposals took account not only of the research work undertaken for the Redcliffe-Maud Royal Commission, but also the accumulated knowledge of conditions throughout the country available in Departments generally and derived from their responsibilities in connection with a great variety of central and local services.

Miss Lestor

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Would he apply those remarks to the Britwell G.L.C. Estate which at the moment is shared between myself and the hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell)? This causes enough difficulties now but at least it is under one county authority. The proposal under the proposed local government reorganisation is to split it down the middle and to put it under two authorities. The effect of this on education and welfare services will be disastrous. Can this matter be looked at again?

Mr. Page

Yes, I am well aware of the problem. The difficulty in dealing with this matter in the Local Government Bill at present is that the estate is split by a parish boundary. We would prefer to leave it to the Boundary Commission. I give the hon. Lady the undertaking that I shall give a direction to the Boundary Commission to deal with this matter as soon as possible.

Mr. Jeffrey Archer

Can my hon. Friend assure the House that when plebiscites are held in areas which are shown to be firmly in favour of changes which are not in the Bill at present, the Government will take them seriously?

Mr. Page

It depends on how the plebiscites are taken and what questions are asked.

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