HC Deb 22 October 1975 vol 898 cc461-3
6. Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he is next going to meet representatives of the district and regional councils.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Bruce Millan)

My noble Friend the Minister of State will be meeting representatives of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on 24th October to discuss financial matters.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that a working party consisting of representatives from the Strathclyde Regional Council, the Lothian Regional Council and the Edinburgh and Glasgow District Councils has been formed to consider the possibility of holding the 1984 Olympic Games in Scotland? Will he consider sympathetically any recommendations that the working party makes to the effect that the Olympic Games should be held in the West of Scotland with certain events being held in the East of Scotland? Will the right hon. Gentleman also give serious consideration to any recommendation to the effect that the 1982 European Games should be held in Edinburgh, and will the Government do everything within their power to encourage sport in Scotland in connection with the 1982 European Games and the 1984 Olympic Games?

Mr. Millan

We are doing everything we can to encourage sport in Scotland. The two proposals referred to by the hon. Gentleman are not yet firm proposals. It is a little early to ask for Government reaction because no proposal has been put to the Government. If any proposal comes to us, we shall examine it carefully, but there would be serious public expenditure implications in either of the proposals and we are already in a period in which public expenditure constraints are severe.

Mr. Crawford

When the Minister of State meets representatives of the regional and district councils, will he meet representatives from Tayside Region and Perth and Kinross District to seek ways and means of ironing out the dreadful duplications in planning procedure whereby the district council agrees planning permission and Tayside Region withdraws it?

Mr. Millan

That is a detailed question which I shall be glad to pursue on another occasion. When the convention comes to meet Ministers, the convention decides which of its representatives should come.

Dr. Bray

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a major problem about the use of sporting facilities which are intended for wide use is the cost of transport to centres, for example, between Motherwell and Hamilton such as the Strathclyde Regional Park, which the Government support? Will he examine whether the Government are over-providing on capital but not sufficiently providing on operating subsidies?

Mr. Millan

Operating subsidies for transport have never been a factor in sports provision. In a period of public expenditure constraint there is an overall difficulty about the provision of new capital projects in a number of spheres because they inevitably attract running costs, too. We have to look at both capital expenditure and running costs together.

Mr. Rifkind

Will the Minister improve upon the inadequate answer given by his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith)? Does he not appreciate that the Secretary of State for the Environment has stated that he intends to keep rate increases in England and Wales down to the level of inflation? Can the Minister explain why this policy is suitable for England and Wales, but a similar policy is not suitable for Scotland, given the present appalling rates problem?

Mr. Millan

I cannot remember the question, but I am sure that the answer given by my right hon. Friend was perfectly adequate. If the hon. Gentleman is referring to cash limits, this is a matter that will be discussed with the local authorities on Friday.

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