HC Deb 29 January 1974 vol 868 cc234-5
15. Mr. Michael Cocks

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will instruct Avon County to carry out its obligations under the Local Government Act in relation to library services.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

My right hon. Friend has no reason to suppose that Avon County Council is unlikely to carry out its duties as a statutory library authority.

Mr. Cocks

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that that is an unsatisfactory reply? Is he aware that Bristol District Council is reported as saying that there has been no true consultation, in the proper sense of the word? Surely this is not the way to build up good will between new authorities. Will he invite Dr. Kersley, the chairman, to his Department to go through with him the provision of Circular 5/73, so that Bristol may have an agency for a library service which it has operated since the 1600s?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I am afraid that I cannot do that because, in accordance with my Department's Circular 5/73, Avon County Council has been asked to submit its observation on the application within 21 days. The matter is now sub judice. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that this application will be carefully considered, and a decision will be announced within the statutory period.