HC Deb 21 June 1993 vol 227 cc11-2
10. Mr. Hanson

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his proposed timetable for legislation to implement the White Paper on local government in Wales.

Mr. Gwilym Jones

My right hon. Friend intends to introduce legislation allowing elections to the new authorities to he held in 1994 and for them to assume responsibility for their services in April 1995.

Mr. Hanson

Does the Secretary of State accept that in my constituency and in those of many other hon. Members there remains concern about boundaries in particular? Equally, grave concern is growing daily throughout Wales about the general thrust of the White Paper on the proposed legislation, in terms of privatisation, reduced democracy and the lack of a Welsh assembly. Would it not be better if the Secretary of State and the Minister withdrew the proposals and included a further period of consultation, when he can get it right and achieve consensus rather than what he has at the moment, which is opposition?

Mr. Jones

There the hon. Gentleman points to it. He would take powers away from local government and give them to a remote quango of a regional assembly for Wales. We want to make local government more direct to the people of Wales. That is why our unitary authorities have been widely welcomed.

There are opportunities for consultation. We have asked for all consultations to be in by 30 June] know that the hon. Gentleman has already seen my right hon. Friend. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that his representations and all of the others will be taken into account before we introduce legislation in the next Session.