HC Deb 09 June 1976 vol 912 cc1426-7
13. Mr, Dempsey

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the nature of his reply to the representations by the Monklands District Council calling for legislation to provide for the payment of full-time members of local authorities.

Mr. McElhone

My noble Friend Lord Kirkhill replied on 2nd June to a letter on the subject from my hon. Friend.

Mr. Dempsey

Is my hon. Friend aware that the proposal from the Monk-lands District Council arises because some of its members who are experienced workers have become redundant due to industrial closures and find employers most unhelpful in providing alternative jobs? In the circumstances, will my hon. Friend discuss fully with the Convention of Local Authorities in Scotland both this aspect and the financial loss that members of local authorities are suffering at present?

Mr. McElhone

I have a great deal of sympathy with my hon. Friend's views. As one who served on a local authority for a period in the city of Glasgow, I am well aware of the sacrifices made by many people serving on local authorities. Even with the £10 allowance, which has tax and other deductions made from it many people are making a financial sacrifice to serve their local authorities, and they do not get credit for it. As regards discrimination against the people whom my hon. Friend mentioned, I have no evidence to substantiate that claim, but this is a matter that could be discussed at the next meeting with the convention to see whether any help could be offered.

Mr. Teddy Taylor

Is the hon. Gentleman collecting figures about the amounts paid in attendance allowances by each authority? If he is, is the figure more or less than he expected, and are the Government considering the substitution of salaries for attendance allowances?

Mr. McElhone

The question of salaries was not included in the last review. As for the collecting of information about the amounts paid out, I have not yet had that information presented to me. I am prepared to assist the hon. Gentleman, if necessary, but I should point out that, even with the amounts paid, most councillors serving local authorities in Scotland are still making a tremendous sacrifice to look after the affairs of local government.