§ 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. 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 897 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.