HC Deb 15 March 1995 vol 256 cc896-7
19. Mr. Duncan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce his Department's proposals for the organisation of local government in the counties of Leicestershire and Rutland.

Mr. Gummer

I hope to be able to announce a decision very soon.

Mr. Duncan

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer and for his continuing detailed interest in this unique decision affecting Rutland. May I invite him to investigate whether his Department might publish its assessment of the costs and practicality of granting unitary status to Rutland?

Mr. Gummer

Rutland has almost unparalleled support for its own special nature, as I have seen in all that I have read. There are obvious problems with an area which has a population of just 33,000 or so, but we are certainly looking at the proposals—not only the commission's proposals to me, but those that my hon. Friend has put to me.

Mr. McLoughlin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, if unitary status is given to Rutland, many of us will want to know why district councils which are larger than Rutland and have made cases for unitary status have been denied it?

Mr. Gummer

The commission has made certain recommendations and happens to have recommended Rutland for that purpose and not my hon. Friend's excellent district council. I want to try to achieve a coherent result, and special circumstances distinguish some places from others.