§ 12. Mr. Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from local authorities regarding their role in economic development.
§ Mr. Rifkind
Representations have been made by Monklands district council and by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities concerning what action is to be
443 taken in Scotland in response to the Widdicombe committee's recommendations on local authorities' role in economic development. These representations will be considered carefully.
§ Mr. Bruce
Will the Secretary of State acknowledge that there is some concern about the role of the public sector and local authorities in the Government's proposals for Enterprise Scotland? Does he acknowledge that initiatives, such as the Grampian initiative and the economic development committee of Gordon district council and other councils, are a useful form of partnership which should be developed and encouraged? Can he give an assurance that when the proposals are introduced in detail they will ensure that we have a proper spirit of partnership between private and public agencies, with leadership from local authorities, and that he will ensure that Enterprise Scotland is not simply a gimmick which damages the promotion of enterprise in Scotland?
§ Mr. Rifkind
I am happy to assure the hon. Gentleman. If he has read the White Paper he will have noted that it specifically refers to the fact that local authorities are employers and are perfectly free to come forward with others with proposals for the establishment of local agencies.