HC Deb 21 May 1986 vol 98 cc356-7
13. Mr. David Atkinson

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on his proposals to privatise local government services following his recent consultations.

Mr. Waldegrave

It remains our firm intention to introduce legislation to require competition for a range of local authority services as soon as the parliamentary timetable permits.

Mr. Atkinson

Now that it has been proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the most remarkable savings have been made by privatising local government services, without a loss of standards in those services and with the full approval of the electorate, as was amply demonstrated in the election results of 8 May, will my hon. Friend hasten the time when he plans to introduce legislation to oblige all local authorities to put such services to the competitive test?

Mr. Waldegrave

I can only repeat what I said in my initial answer, that, without in any way anticipating the contents of the Queen's Speech, if legislative time is available, the Government intend to take further action in this area.

Mr. Tony Lloyd

What conclusion does the Minister draw from the large number of formerly Conservative-controlled authorities which reject the privatisation of services, particularly the borough of Trafford, which examined in detail the possibility of privatising refuse collection and decided that it would not make economic sense?

Mr. Waldegrave

I draw the same conclusion as I draw from the fact that a number of Conservative councils which were at the forefront of privatisation, including Bath, Wandsworth, Westminister, and Merton, did rather well at the local elections, namely, that what controls the swings at modern local government elections is, unfortunately, the national position.