HL Deb 17 July 1973 vol 344 cc1017-86

3.30 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, that the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Polwarth.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF LISTOWEL in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [New local government areas in Scotland]:

On Question, Whether Clause 1 shall stand part of the Bill?


Clause 1 starts off the principle which governs the whole of this Bill, which is that local government in Scotland will be reorganised in regions and in districts. The regions and the districts are then defined in Schedule 1 to the Bill. A considerable number of Amendments are proposed to that Schedule, and it will not have escaped the notice of your Lordships that by far the majority of these Amendments to Schedule 1 relate to the Strathclyde region. I said—and I think I exaggerated—on Second Reading that the Strathclyde region had no friends. I admit that that is probably an exaggeration. I do not think anyone would accuse me of exaggeration, however, if I said that the Strathclyde region had few friends, and these are probably confined to those people who do not realise that what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wheatley, produced was the Report of a Commission and not a new, fifth Gospel: we are not living under Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Wheatley.

It is not surprising that there should he this criticism of the Strathclyde region. First of all, it covers a very great amount of land. But, much more im portant, having regard to what local government is about, it has to do with the life of a very great number of people. Nearly two and a half million people are to be within this region, and even more disturbing is the extent to which almost half of them—I think approximately 1,200,000—are going to be in one particular district: the district of Greater Glasgow.

I suggest that over the years is has been demonstrated without any contradiction that the government of a small burgh is probably the finest example of practical democracy we have seen in this country. Because burghs were small, both the councillors and the residents were able to take an active interest in a community—not just people living in a particular street or in a particular ward but in a community as a whole—in matters which in larger communities must he regarded as being completely trifling. In the larger cities, we have been amused sometimes at the long debates one could have in, say —but I will not name any particular town in case I am regarded as criticising it, but in the small burgh of X, about whether or not a lamp post should be at a particular place. That is of course inconceivable in a large burgh, and it is impossible in a city or a large industrial county. But the way in which people immersed themselves in the problems of the community in the small burgh was not confined to trivial matters such as that; occasionally there were issues of real importance over 'which the council would be divided.

We have the kind of situation where perhaps a swimming pool was being contemplated and there were people for and people against it. There may be a council of, say, nine members, three of them seeking re-election at the annual election, two of whom were on one side and one on the other. It became quite clear where people's views were if the two lost their seats and were replaced by opponents. That sort of situation obviously cannot happen on any scale in a much larger community. So it is not nearly so easy to demonstrate what people want in a large community.

Why therefore, if that is the case, are we abandoning this system? I think we must abandon it because, even though the small councils have the merit of being the closest approximation we can obtain to real democracy in local government, the extent to which local government functions have changed over the years has placed many of them in the position that they cannot adequately carry out their task because they do not have sufficient funds at their disposal. We therefore have the situation that residents in one part of the country can have provided for them by their local authority the range of services which they would like to have and for which they were willing to pay, but in other, smaller communities it was quite impossible for this to be done because it was totally beyond the resources of the council to do it. That therefore is the justification for seeking larger units of government.

It is perhaps easy to believe that a council, which has had full control of the affairs of its own community in the hands of, say, nine or 12, or 15 councillors, will accept, albeit reluctantly, a situation where they become part of a larger council and they have only a third or a quarter of the membership of the new body. I do not know at what point in going down the scale the acceptable becomes the unacceptable, but I would certainly suggest that there is ample justification for finding it unacceptable when you find, for instance, that the burgh of Clydebank when it goes into Strathclyde will have approximately one-twenty-eighth of the membership of the council; the burgh of Bearsden will have about one-fiftieth of the composition of the council, and the burgh of Milngavie will have about 1 per cent. of the composition of that council. In these circumstances it needs the illness of just a single councillor to mean that a burgh can be totally unrepresented at a time when something of great importance might be coming up. And it is difficult to believe that in this very large council the interests of what, until the passing of this Bill, has been an authority with which the bulk of the councillors have had no concern at all, will receive the kind of consideration that it merits. I believe that in course of time it may be that this will prove not to be the case, but there are very genuine doubts about it just now.

I have not the slightest doubt that if we got together a team of a town planner, a psychiatrist, an educationist, a traffic engi neer and all the kinds of experts who go into this sort of matter they could claim beyond doubt in even the minds of the most sceptical that the system of government which they were proposing was the most logical and the most effective that could be devised, and that it could create the ideal kind of system for local government. I think we would all accept that if we were all ideal people; if we all wished to live under an ideal kind of Government. But that is not so. We all have our own particular likes and dislikes.


I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, will forgive me for interrupting him but even with the people he has just mentioned, I should be very surprised if they agreed.


Well, with the facility which they have of keeping their differences behind doors we should never learn the extent of the disagreement; we should be presented with something having all the appearance of unanimity. However, many people might say, "Well, Clydebank—I wouldn't want to live in Clydebank", and there may be many people in Clydebank who would say, "I wouldn't like to live in Milngavie," or, "I wouldn't like to live in Bearsden". But people's lives are not just organised on the sort of things which have governed these proceedings, things like the pattern of travel to work. People live in a community, whether it is Clydebank, Milngavie, Eastwood, Bishopbriggs—many of the places which are seeking to keep out of Glasgow.

If they live there and are in an unfit house, the vast majority of them want to obtain a fit house in that area; they do not want to be offered a house in another community altogether; and it does not matter whether they work in another community. If they live there, they want their shopping facilities; they want schools for their children; they want churches, and all the other facilities which are common to small communities as well as large to be within a reasonable distance of where they live. I suggest, therefore, that to the average individual the most important part of life, when he considers who is going to be running his local affairs, is where he works. The other aspects are, I suggest, much more appropriate to regional government than to district government.

Therefore, in anticipation of the discussion of the Amendments that are coming forward, I believe that we ought to recognise that the best form of local government is not necessarily the ideal from the theoretical point of view but the best that is acceptable to the majority of the people who are going to live under it, and if that turns out from a theoretical point of view to be a second best or a third best, so be it. It is the people who will have to live under it and the extent to which they will feel that they will have a say in it that is important. If I lived in Milngavie, the knowledge that I should be participating in the election of two-thirds of a councillor would not be much consolation for me when I discovered that out of the 80-odd councillors in Glasgow my interests seldom appeared to be looked after.

Therefore, I feel that there is a strong case for hiving off a considerable amount of the areas which it is proposed should be added to Glasgow. But I will go further than that. On the Second Reading of the Bill I said that I was unhappy about the Strathclyde region and I hoped to table an Amendment on that subject. Since then I have examined exactly what was discussed in another place. An Amendment was tabled there to break up the Strathclyde region into four regions, with a non-elected Metropolitan tier with functions which were not very detailed superimposed on it. That Amendment was rejected. I said in my speech that it was not my desire to re-table anything which had been properly discussed and rejected in another place. I said then—and I am still of the opinion—that generally speaking I would accept their decision unless we could approach it from a different point of view or with more detail than another place had been able to consider.

I believe that it is possible to make a better job for this half of the country than the present set-up, but while I am satisfied in my own mind (as are those with whom I have discussed the matter) that it is possible to do something better and without in any way setting up any new principles other than those which are in the Bill at the present time, my Amendments will follow the pattern which the Government themselves have laid down within the Bill or followed in other parts of the country. But I did not feel justified in the short time at my disposal in putting down Amendments of so wide-ranging a character without consulting those concerned to find out if this was what was wanted and if it was acceptable to them. I have discussed matters with some of the local authorities; with the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, who had a deputation from Ayrshire about their misgivings on the Bill, and I have spoken to people in Glasgow. As a result, at some time in September there will be a meeting of those who seek to have something other than this done; to find out whether we can get a common measure which would be acceptable to everyone. I think that is unlikely.

What we shall then try to find out is whether there is any alternative which could command the support of a majority of people, and if that is the position then I hope that those who are taking part in these discussions will table Amendments for consideration at the Report stage. If, however, on the other hand it appears that the measure of disagreement is that many people would merely consider that we are changing one wrong thing for one which was equally bad, then I will not be a party to the tabling of any Amendments but will let the situation with regard to the regions stand as it is. In this matter the most important thing is to find out what the people concerned want and to try to give effect to it if it is practicable.

In conclusion, I would say that whether Strathclyde remains as a single region or becomes a number of regions, the Amendments which are tabled to Schedule 1 are equally valid. If there should be a region of Greater Glasgow that would be very appropriate for covering the functions in which all these communities can be regarded as having a common interest, but it will not be an occasion for including them all in a district of Glasgow. The case for them being out-with has exactly the same strength, or lack of strength according to one's point of view, as it has if it remains a single region. So having made it quite clear that I am not abandoning the idea of trying to improve on the present situation, provided I can get agreement, I then want to go on to say that at this stage we ought to be looking carefully at the districts in Strathclyde and deciding whether or not it should remain as it is in the Bill or whether a number of new districts should be created.


The noble Lord, Lord Hughes, has made a very important suggestion to us this afternoon. He speaks with unique authority on local government affairs in this House and I welcome what he has said. I believe that there is a great deal of uncertainty in Scotland about what we are doing and a great many doubts have been expressed. The simple proposition is that in this Bill the Government are dividing Scotland into two: Strathclyde and non-Strathclyde. They are then dividing Glasgow into two: Glasgow and non-Glasgow; and in order to make it quite equal they have increased Glasgow to nearly double its size and about 25 per cent. of the population. I really think that this must be looked at very closely indeed.

The noble Lord has drawn attention to the burghs which have been the strength of Scottish local governmment for many years. I entirely agree that they have done a first-class job of work within the spheres within which they were able to operate, and one must not underestimate what they have done. What we are doing here—and I must put it quite bluntly—is not really local government, because local government means something that people know about. Certainly in the region it will be quite impossible for more than one or two of the councillors really to know the subject that they are speaking about. I think we should look at this very carefully indeed to see whether or not we can do a better job.


I agree. I do not know whether I am in order in speaking on Clause 1, but I see in the Schedule that Kirkcudbrightshire, in which I lived for twenty years, is described as the county of Kirkcudbright. It is not a county, it is a stewartry. This is not a matter for amendment; it is a matter for correction.

3.48 p.m.


The noble Lord, Lord Hughes, has raised the point that has probably caused us the greatest concern in putting together this new frame work for local government; namely, the problem of this vast conurbation of West Central Scotland and the resulting proposal for a Strathclyde region. We went over this ground thoroughly on Second Reading and I do not think it would be profitable to rehearse all the arguments again at this stage.

On the question of Glasgow and the Glasgow district, perhaps I may reserve my remarks until we come to the first of the Amendments dealing with this. On Strathclyde itself, vast efforts have been made to find something approaching the ideal solution, and I am the first to admit that we have not found an ideal solution, nor shall we ever find an ideal solution. One of the great problems in all this is that we say we want to find out what people want, but the difficulty is that so many people want so many different things. How are we really to discover what is for the greatest benefit of all concerned? Often what people want turns out to be the obverse of the coin and they are identified by what they do not want. I can only say that I admire the determination of the noble Lord to continue further in search of the crock of gold at the bottom of the rainbow, or however we might describe it—this ideal solution. Of course if he were to find it, or one more ideal, nobody would be happier than myself.


If I may interrupt the noble Lord, he is completely misrepresenting me. I am not looking for an ideal solution. I think perhaps he has the ideal solution, but as almost nobody likes it we must find something less than ideal. What I am looking for is a better solution, not an ideal one.


I apologise for having misrepresented the noble Lord. I though he was looking for a more likeable solution, if I may so term it, and I think all I would say is that if his discussions in the meanwhile appear to be pointing towards some improvement, or something which he feels is an improvement, perhaps he will keep me in touch as he feels he can, so that we may keep in step. Noble Lords will appreciate that when the Bill comes before us on Report after the Summer Recess, there will not be a great deal of the Session left for any of our changes to be considered in another place. Of course, this is a very fundamental change, if we decide to make it, so I make the plea to the noble Lord that if there are signs of discovering anything which he is intending to put up, the sooner we are able to examine it, the better.

I do not know that I can deal with the point raised by my noble friend Lord Belhaven. I know that Kirkcudbright has always enjoyed this unique designation of the Stewartry, as Fife has enjoyed the designation of the Kingdom. Whether it has a statutory force I am not in a position to say. May we leave the position of Strathclyde? We will deal with the greater Glasgow area in the definite Amendments.


I am quite happy to take up what the noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, has said about keeping in touch. I would suggest to the County Clerk responsible for convening the meeting that the noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, should be invited to attend the meeting.


In answer to what my noble friend said on my interjection about the Stewartry, may I say that if my noble friend looks at the Treaty of Union, he will see all the Counties and Stewartries of Scotland, and at the time there was only one Stewartry. I think it would be more acceptable if it were put in the Schedule as the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, and not as a County. I do not think it is a suitable subject for an Amendment; it is a correction. It was put in incorrectly, I think.


May I finally draw the noble Lord's attention to the fact that the title of "Stewartry" is to be perpetuated in the name of a district under the Bill?

Clause 1 agreed to.

Schedule 1 [New Local Government Areas]:

3.55 p.m.

LORD BALERNO moved Amendment No. 1: Page 146, line 42, leave out ("Central") and insert ("Fourth").

The noble Lord said: This is the first of over 200 Amendments. We have had a magnificent overture already and I therefore propose to be reasonably brief. My point is that the name "Central" is applied to the proposed region which includes Clackmannan and Alloa on one side of the Firth of Forth, Grangemouth on the opposite side, the conurbation of Falkirk and the Burgh of Stirling with the hinterland, the country places, behind them—that is the area we are considering, and I submit to your Lordships that the name "Central " is inappropriate. It is an unseemly name and I think it is the last resort of the unimaginative. I understand that it was chosen because the various local authorities in that area—and if you knew them you would understand this—could not or would not reach agreement on something that was respectably euphonic or more correctly descriptive.

Since the Second Reading of the Bill I have made a little inquiry and have discovered that the natives themselves appear to have no alternative to offer. Indeed, I understand now that the local authorities in that area were given the opportunity of taking the name "Forth", which is what I suggest in my Amendment, when that name was no longer required for what the Bill now calls the Lothian. There comes a time when people must be saved from themselves, and this, I submit, is such a time. We have to think of the future, and I ask your Lordships whether we can contemplate posterity's being doomed to living in and having their letters from all over the world addressed to "Central, United Kingdom". The whole of this region drains into the River Forth. The Kilsyth area, which was formerly part of Stirling-shire, has been deliberately removed into the Strathclyde region and part of the district of Strathkelvin, so that even that part which might not have been draining into the Firth of Forth has been taken out and goes, with its neighbour Cumbernauld, into Strathclyde.

There is another and I think completely overriding reason why this region should not be named "Central". For at least a hundred years it has been the habit to refer to the "central industrial belt of Scotland"—and it is a very convenient description; so convenient that it certainly will continue to be used whatever this so-called "Central" region is to be called in the future. This central belt of Scotland includes not only Stirling and Falkirk but Cumbernauld, Motherwell, Wishaw, Coatbridge, Airdrie and Hamilton. My noble friend Lord Polwarth has already spoken in this debate about the use of the phrase "the West Central areas", and if the Government are already talking about the West Central areas there must be other central areas. Are we not getting into a lovely state of confusion? To use "Central" for a region in which only three out of the 11 large burghs or conurbations in what is normally called "Central" are situated, is to invite confusion. I think it is downright ridiculous. I beg to move.


I should like to support my noble friend's Amendment. I agree with every word he said. I think it is a confession of failure on the part of the area and also of the Scottish Office to allow the word "Central" to appear as though it had some particular point of its own. It has not. It would be a great pity if we did not change the name, and I appeal to my noble friend, Lord Polwarth, to adopt the suggestion made by my noble friend and myself that the worth "Forth" should be the region described in Schedule 1 as "Central".


The noble Lord who proposed the Amendment and the noble Baroness who, as it were, seconded it, made a most convincing case. I particularly enjoyed the opening contribution. I am bound to say that I am myself not in the least enamoured of the designation "Central", but when we sought suggestions from the local authorities in the area that was the name that came up with the greatest degree of support. Even when we went back to them after the name "Forth" became available, as it were, they still came back. To be precise, eleven authorities opted still for "Central", four for "Forth Valley" and thirteen did not reply. I have in my office a map of Scotland, one made in 1714, which hangs opposite my up-to-date map, and looking at this we find that in the pattern of the new region we have followed almost exactly the area designated on that map of 1714 as Menteith. I do not think that sufficient people are familiar with that historical name; but in fact that area is very similar in size and shape to the region proposed to-day. I think "Menteith" would have been a very good name, though it is possibly not familiar enough. In the circumstances, I would suggest to your Lordships that we should accept this Amendment, always subject to the reservation that if there is a storm of protest from the "Centralists" in the neighbourhood we must have the right to raise the matter again at a later stage. Meanwhile I am happy to recommend your Lordships to accept this Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.2 p.m.

THE MARQUESS or AILSA moved Amendment No. 2: Page 147, line 9, at end insert ("except the Burgh of Girvan, the District of Girvan").

The noble Marquess said: May I ask that Amendments Nos. 16, 17 and 20 be discussed together with this one as each one is consequential on the others. This refers to the Burgh and District of Girvan, a community of about 9,000 voters, the majority of whom live in the town of Girvan and are administered to by the town council of Girvan, a town council which has been very successful in its endeavours to promote the prosperity of that town by ensuring that Girvan continues to be a very successful holiday centre and also that it has sufficient industry to ensure that it is not wholly dependent on the holiday trade. In the Government's White Paper, The Reform of Local Government in Scotland (Cmd. 4583), the Burgh and District of Girvan was placed in the South-West region. When this Bill started its passage through another place it was proposed that the Burgh and District of Girvan should be in the Merrick district of the South-West region, a region of about 157,000 and a district of 30,000. Under these arrangements the Burgh and District of Girvan would have three representatives on the regional council out of a council of 38, and six district councillors out of 20. These proposals were repeatedly discussed by the Girvan Town Council and were repeatedly accepted by them, finally by a majority of eight to four. During Committee stage in another place Ayr County Council, a council which has never at any time accepted the proposals for Ayrshire in this reorganisation, endeavoured to have Ayrshire created a region on its own, or more correctly a sub-region on its own. While they were not successful in achieving this, they were successful in getting the Burgh and District of Girvan taken out of the South-West region and brought into the region of Strathclyde and into the newly formed district of Kyle and Carrick. At no time prior to this had there been any discussion between the county council and the town council of Girvan, a council which had repeatedly stated that they were satisfied with the Bill as it was when it started its passage through another place. So, without a "by your leave" or "thank you", Girvan and surrounding districts were removed from the South-West region, where they had a regional representative for every 4,000 voters and a district councillor for every 1,500 or so, and brought into the Strathclyde region, a region of nearly two and a half million, and into a district of over 79,000. As the Burgh and District of Girvan would have only two-fifths of a representative at regional level out of a representation of about 100, it would be very doubtful whether much notice would ever be taken of what happened to them, and with three councillors out of 24 on the district council they would not be much better off.

It is in an endeavour to rectify this situation that I am moving this Amendment, and if it is accepted, as I am very anxious that it should be, it will have the effect of returning Girvan and district into the South-West region and the Merrick district, thereby giving back to this community the opportunity of playing a leading part in the development of their local government both at regional and district level. While I fully accept the need for the reform of local government in Scotland, and I am also prepared to accept the method by which the Government propose to do this, I am very concerned lest local government should become too remote from those whom it is intended to serve, and I feel that in the Strathclyde region this situation is greatly emphasised. As I have said, it has a population of nearly two and a half million; a number of those are concentrated in and around Glasgow, and I think that, with the best will in the world, Glasgow and the surrounding area will dominate that region.

A similar situation occurs when considering the districts. In the district of Kyle and Carrick we find that we have two burghs, Ayr and Prestwick, adjoin ing; they have between them an electorate of over 47,000, more than half the total electorate of the district. They have 13 councillors out of a total of 24; they have three representatives on the regional council. The outlook of these representatives, both at district and at regional level, will tend to be what I would term of an urban nature. They are not very accustomed and attuned to deal with the problems of a rural district or a rural area. By returning Girvan and the surrounding district to the South-West all this would be rectified. No-one in that region is in a position to dominate somebody else. The same applies to the districts, and from my own experience Dumfries and Galloway are more accustomed to dealing with rural areas than are Ayrshire and those counties further North. Recently a friend of mine had occasion to drive from New Galloway via Newton Stewart to Girvan, and he could not help commenting upon the sharp deterioration he found in the roads and countryside once he crossed out of the Stewartry into Ayrshire.



I agree it is a shame. That is why we must amend this Bill and try to improve it. I am aware that there is tremendous loyalty in Ayrshire and that many people wish to stay in Ayrshire. I cannot see, though, that by being in the South-West region and the Merrick district the ability of those who live in Girvan to shop in Ayrshire will be in any way interfered with. Farmers will continue to sell their produce at whatever market will give them the best price for it on that occasion, be it at Ayr, be it at Newton Stewart or be it at Castle Douglas. Similarly, fishermen will continue to land their catches at whatever port they find to be the best market. I have never yet found anyone who ever thought about what region or district they were in when they bought or sold their wares. Possibly Strathclyde may be going to declare U.D.I. and close its borders.

I am aware that there has been concern over the hospital treatment of people in Girvan and surrounding districts, but this question has now been settled and there is no doubt that people from this area will continue to get their treatment, when they so need it, in the Ayrshire hospitals. With regard to the various regional services, social services, et cetera, there is every indication that some regional offices will be set up within the districts, possibly in Girvan. But with the representation that Girvan and district will have at regional level—that is, three representatives—they will be in a position to ensure that their community gets the service that they feel it should have, something that the two-fifths of a representative in Strathclyde will have little hope of doing. I hope that the Government can see their way to accepting this Amendment. By doing so, they will show that they are really anxious that everyone can participate in local government. I beg to move.

4.12 p.m.


I should like to support the noble Marquess in his Amendment. Girvan's main economic strength is in tourism, but it has always been excluded from the Clyde Tourist Association and is referred to as the "Gateway to Galloway". As a founder-member of the South-West Consultative Economic Planning Group, it has become in the last decade a principal growth point in the South-West area. It has also been established that the travel to work pattern of the area is into and not away from Girvan. Whereas in the past nine months Girvan has had no consultation whatever with Strathclyde, it has, during the same period, gone a long way towards a smooth and satisfactory integration with the Dumfries and Galloway region and Merrick district. Girvan's inclusion in Strathclyde adds nothing to that region but size. However, its exclusion from Dumfries and Galloway reduces the viability of that region significantly and creates an unacceptable imbalance. I hope that your Lordships will support this Amendment.


I rise to oppose this Amendment and to support the Government's views in this matter. The suggested Amendment puts Girvan in the wrong area. It is contrary to the geographical, social and administrative experience of that area. To the South of Girvan there are very large mountains and wild country and it is not at all easy to go South, with the result that nearly all the people going from the burgh go to Maybole and to the North. The division, if the Government accept this Amendment, in my opinion would be in quite the wrong place. The historical boundary is between Carrick and the rest of Ayrshire. If the region were to contain the whole of Ayrshire that would be a different matter, but at the moment it does not. It would create the greatest difficulty if we were to put the Burgh of Girvan into the South because its looks North, and its people who travel travel to May-bole and the North.

The question of tourism has been mentioned, but as a matter of fact the area of Ayrshire in general is a fine tourist area and one that it is not necessary to divide up at all. If the tourist area is to be developed, it should be the whole of that part of Ayrshire. It would be a mistake if we were to put Girvan into the Southern area. Its interests are not in that area, and I hope that the Govern-will not support the Amendment.


This is a great case of complete division. I have had communication with a number of people in the District and Burgh of Girvan, and I have had as many letters for this Amendments as against it. If it is possible to put the matter in a nutshell, the Burgh of Girvan seems to be for it and the District of Girvan seems to be against it. So as there is such a division from every walk of life, with all due respect to my noble friend Lord Ailsa and the noble Countess, Lady Loudoun, I would support my noble friend Lady Elliot and ask my noble friend the Minister to reject this Amendment.

4.18 p.m.


I should like to support the Amendment of the noble Marquess, and for this reason. Every single speaker in the Second Reading debate on this Bill was worried, and expressed anxiety, about the size of Strathclyde, and the arguments so far about retaining Girvan in the Strathclyde district could also apply to Stranraer, Newton Stewart, and they have already applied to Oban. I do not see why it should stop at Girvan; Strathclyde could go on absorbing burghs indefinitely under the arguments now put forward.

As noble Lords will recall, what was called the "Sillars Amendment" in the Standing Committee swayed the judgment of everybody to include Girvan in Strathclyde. At column 580 of paragraph 3, Mr. Sillars, the Member for Ayrshire, said in support of his case: There are fishermen at Ballantrae, the Maidens, and Girvan. They all fish out of Ayr. The make their main landings at Ayr, and the organisation tends to start from Ayr and to organise itself from Ayr and not from anywhere South. This is utter balderdash. Mr. Sillars may not have visited the fishermen who fish out of Girvan or verified with any of them the truth of this statement, but the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, and I have been out to these men and know perfectly well of the catches landed at Girvan, and know that the fishing grounds moved further South to Portpatrick and further South still. It is this aspect, the harbour aspect of Girvan, that I am most concerned will be lost in the maw of Strathclyde. For instance, the problems of the development and expansion of Girvan Harbour will get little change from the very large authority to which they will be applying.

I feel also that all along the coast, from the harbour problem at Cairnryan to the use of Portpatrick, it has always been the projected developments of these harbours that has been snuffed out from the central authority at Clyde even before the Strathclyde authority is formed. I would hate to see the lack of development of Girvan harbour being brought about because people were under the impression that everything happened from the harbours further North of Girvan because this is not true. I am sure that the alginate industries further South will also be demanding more use of Girvan harbour in preference to Ayr. The encouragement of tourism and the yachting boom, which I am sure the Minister will appreciate is of growing importance, shows that there should be extra facilities provided in Girvan harbour for the future. Therefore I strongly support the Amendment of the noble Marquess, and I hope that other noble Lords will also do so.

4.20 p.m.


It is with great regret that I feel bound to oppose both the noble Marquess and the noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw. I have known the noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, for over 20 years, and the family of the noble Marquess and my family have been friends and allies for almost five centuries; but I express my opinion with all the force and eloquence that I have at my disposal. I must not repeat what I said when we last discussed this matter but, as the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, has said, there is no question that we look Northwards and that geographically there is a boundary between us. Only three roads run out of Carrick into Galloway, and most of them are usually blocked in the winter. Geographically, and in every other way, travel statistics really support the Sillars Amendment, as it has been called, very strongly.

Two years ago there was a survey of 112 people in Girvan, chosen at random, who were asked where they went for reasons other than business. Of those 112, 28 per cent. went to Ayr not less than once a week, and 62 per cent. went to Ayr not less than once a quarter. The noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, mentioned alginates. Under the present division, the alginates factory, which is closely linked to Girvan, will go to Strathclyde while Girvan will go into the South-West region. I endorse what the noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, said about fishing. Most of the fish is landed at Girvan and Ayr, although some is landed at other ports: but fishing knows no boundaries and it does not matter very much which region they are fishing out of. They will land their catches at the most convenient place, wherever they are put geographically.

My second point is about the local feeling. In the last debate, the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, made the point that since Girvan wants to go into the South-West region, why not let them? I dispute that. I believe that I can count on the fingers of my two hands —and perhaps have one thumb left over —the people who want to go into the South-West region. I am sorry, but I had forgotten the noble Countess. The vote in the Girvan Burgh Council was eight to four, as the noble Marquess said, and I must confess that those figures included the present Provost, the last Provost and one of the more effective members. But, of that majority, some in the middle are swithering. The local paper is owned in Galloway and has come out in favour of going into the South-West region; but that paper was established only a year ago, when it looked as if Girvan was going into the South-West region. There are nine members on the district council and they voted unanimously in favour of sticking to Ayrshire, wherever Ayrshire may go.


May I ask the noble Lord when the district council ever discussed or voted on this matter?


I have a sister-in-law on that distinguished body, and my information is that it has done so almost incessantly. I believe that there is one switherer on the district council, but I think she has been told to shut up.

With the greatest respect to the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, I think he has been misinformed about the strength of the feeling in Girvan, and among the people to whom I have been talking almost incessantly over the last couple of months I have found very little support indeed for the notion that we all want to go into the South-West. There are, I must concede, two big arguments for going into the South-West. The first is that it would strengthen the South-West region. However, as I said on Second Reading, we love the people in that region, we love the place and we have nothing against it; but we do not want to join it. The second argument is that Strathclyde is much too big, and that fact is acknowledged by everybody.

I hope for two things this afternoon. First, I hope that this Amendment will not be passed in a hurry. All of us would be happiest if it were possible to retain Ayrshire as the entity which most of us feel it to be, and I believe that the noble Marquess, the noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, and perhaps also the noble Countess, might be happier, even though much of Ayrshire is industrial. As I said earlier, we are industry, we are fishing, we are agriculture and we are pits. I have been having discussions with the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, and on Saturday the county chairman, the county convener, the county clerk and the county clerk depute all came to my house, begging me to do my best to see that this Amendment was rejected and to see that some measure of independence is retained for Ayrshire. I think we should all be prepared to see some metropolitan overlord for planning and strategic purposes put over us, but I would beg those noble Lords who moved this Amendment to hold their horses and wait to see what the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, can come up with during the discussions which I am so glad to hear he is to hold. I beg that this Amendment be rejected.


I find myself in the rather odd position of being in sympathy with the Amendment and with the noble Lord who has just spoken. I do not think we have reached the stage in Scotland where we need to have a referendum, but I lived in the Stewartry for 20 years until just over a year ago, and I must confess that already I have very little connection with Ayrshire. We went through Ayrshire to get to Glasgow, and I had a very dear and old friend who lived near Girvan. When I went to visit him I had to allow about four hours' driving time, because, although the roads in the Stewartry and Wigtownshire are quite good, the roads in that part of Ayrshire are so bad that one never knows how long a journey will take.


I think the noble Lord must have got lost.


I must disappoint the noble Lord: I did not get lost, but I sat behind a lorry for 15 miles on that stretch of road between the Ayrshire border and Girvan, and the journey took a very long time. If anyone was liable to seasickness if he happened to be a passenger, it was not a bad idea to take a dramamine because there were so many bends in the road.

The present idea of the Strathclyde region is a perfect abortion. If we are going to reform local government in Scotland, it seems almost worthy of Gilbert and Sullivan that we should have five or six regions in one half, and then have half the population in one region. In spite of what the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, said, I can understand why there may be some people in the Girvan area who would rather come in with us, with the South-West, merely because they want to keep out of Strathclyde. There is no other reason. If I had anything to do with local government in Galloway, which I do not, I should be perfectly prepared to see Girvan given back to Ayrshire, if the idea of the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, came true and Ayrshire remained Ayrshire, as I think it should. I shall now be slightly irrelevant and say that I cannot understand why the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright has been cut up in the way it has. It seems to be perfectly absurd and there is no reason at all for it. We have been brought up in our own counties. I think I sympathise with the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae. I do not think that this new region in Scotland—and I may be unique in not liking this Bill—will command the sort of loyalty which the old counties and Royal Burghs commanded in the past. If we could get some sort of statement from the Government that they will look at this Amendment and think about what my noble friend Lord Ballantrae said, I would support his Amendment. If the Government are prepared to look at it and come back on Report stage with something that would make Ayrshire more viable and more of a region than it is now, then I think the Amendment should not be pressed.


This Amendment seems to be particularly relevant to the short discussion we had on the Question, That the clause stand part. I did not want to prolong that discussion because it was clear that we could not come to any decision this afternoon on the suggestions put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Hughes. I was very grateful to my noble friend Lord Polwarth for his readiness—I think I could say his willingness—to discuss the point raised by Lord Hughes. As he said, we have very little time—and he was right to stress that aspect—but he did not seem to rule out the possibility that he might do what the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, wanted; which was to try to find out in the short time available what the people want.

If that is done, and if Ayrshire is going to ask to be allowed to become a separate region then Ayrshire will have a very strong case indeed, because the Government have already given way in respect of Fife which has a smaller population than Ayrshire. If we find that there is a large majority of people in Ayrshire who want to be separate, then it will be difficult for the Government to resist it. In that event, from what I have gathered from the discussion on this Amendment, people in the Girvan area would no longer want to leave Ayrshire and to go elsewhere. That being so, I would suggest that noble Lords should not press this Amendment now but should wait to see what happens about the plea of Ayrshire to be a separate region.


What I wish to achieve is precisely what the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, has just proposed: that the Amendment be withdrawn pending what Lord Hughes is able to establish of the wishes of the population generally.

4.33 p.m.


Perhaps it would be appropriate for me to intervene now. I had hoped to be able to keep out of the discussion. I want to join with the suggestion of the noble Marquess that he might withdraw these Amendments to-day but immediately this stage is completed to re-table them for consideration at Report stage. The reason why I suggest that is that if we could find a different set-up for Strathclyde which could be put into the Bill, there might be neither the need nor the desire to do anything about this area. When I had the responsibility for these matters I was a supporter of putting this area into the South-West—but only for the reason of trying to make the South-West a little more workable and to give it a little more population and area. I cannot think that there is any stronger reason than that, unless it is that the people in the area want to go into the South-West. That would be the deciding consideration for me. If we are to have Strathclyde as it stands, then, if I were persuaded that the people want to go into the South-West, I would support it. If the evidence was the other way, that they wanted to remain in Ayrshire and not Strathclyde, I would support that.

But that may not be the choice. I have checked on whether or not I should be "doing down" the noble Marquess by suggesting that he should withdraw and re-table these Amendments. I think I would not. If there are to be Amendments about new regions they will come up before the Amendments that he would re-table. His Amendment is to page 147, line 9. If there were an Amendment to change the region of Strathclyde it would be to page 147, line 2. So if the proposal to break up Strathclyde is not submitted, or is not successful, he would still be left with the opportunity as the next Amendment then to come back on the present one. It would be most unfortunate if he were to carry his Amendments to a Division to-day, and succeed, only to discover, if Strathclyde were broken up, that he had carried an Amendment that people no longer wanted. I think it is a second best to being part of a more acceptable region. I think therefore that, without withdrawing any of the arguments relevant to the present circumstances which might be equally relevant to any future circumstances, he would be justified in not pressing these Amendments to-day.


This discussion on the position of Girvan has raised the more fundamental issue of the size of Strathclyde. I live in the Strathclyde region and I should like to say a word or two in defence of it. Despite all the ingenuity and skill of my noble friend Lord Hughes, I do not believe that it will be possible to come up with some alternative scheme. This subject has been discussed at great length in another place; it has been discussed in the Press, and so far no one has come up with a scheme, apart from the fragmentation and dismantling of Strathclyde which seems to be proceeding in this House.

First, it is suggested that Girvan be detached and put into another area. Then it is suggested that Ayrshire be detached and put into another area. All the arguments about Girvan's being a centre of tourism can be applied to many other parts of the Strathclyde region. If we follow the logic of the contributions made here to-day we shall have a complete dismantling of the Strathclyde region and we shall finish with its being equivalent to the Glasgow district in the district schemes. I suggest to my noble friends who are much concerned about Strathclyde and its power and authority resting in the urban area that it is not doing a good service to good government to try to detach these areas which would add an element of variety to the government of Strathclyde region and perhaps retain in this centrally dominated area of local government a degree of balance between agricultural interests, tourism interests and countryside interests as well as city interests.

Before this debate perhaps we should all have read Wheatley, because the Government in this case are to be commended in bringing forward local government reform. There are no prizes for this. Everyone who has an interest in local government is offended; everyone feels upset. All of us who have had some connection with local government have a certain affection for institutions as they are; but I do not think this Committee will be acting properly by simply holding on to institutions which have passed their period of relevance. We all like the associations which we enjoy and I hope that in this scheme of district councils as well as of community councils some of these traditional loyalities will be encouraged and nurtured by the Government. I think that local government would be poorer if it did not attract that degree of local interest and if people felt that it was all being run by some vast bureaucracy.

Why is this Bill introduced? Not out of sense of devilment on the part of some legislator; but simply because local government in Scotland had become irrelevant to the kind of economy and environment in which we now live. We are living in a period when a vast change is going on in transport and communication compared with the period when these local government institutions served the community well. We are living in a period when we have to consider large areas for the planning of industrial development; when we have to look at large areas in terms of forecasting planning; and when we have to look at large sums of investment in the new areas. In large local authorities decisions are rarely made now which do not involve very large sums. So it is important, when we are thinking in these large terms, to have political institutions that can discharge these substantial responsibilities.

There is one other respect which makes it essential to have, and where we can justify, large local government institutions. To-day, because of the vast expenditure in local government—and I believe this is a sphere where economies can be made through efficiency—we have to attract top management in these areas, and we shall not do that in small, scattered, diversified local authorities with limited authority in their own area. We shall perhaps achieve it if we cast our vision of local government in terms of larger areas. These are the kinds of things, I presume, which prompted the Government to encourage this new scheme; and so far as I am concerned I can see considerable justification for it, keeping in mind, of course, that in the discharge of local government—


I do not want to interrupt the noble Lord, but would he not agree that his is rather a Second Reading speech, and could he tell us what he really feels about the District and Burgh of Girvan, the subject of the Amendment which we are discussing?


I am sorry; I thought that the discussion on Girvan had really gone on to a much wider field. I had the impression that it was suggested that the Amendment might be withdrawn in order that we should be able to look again at the Strathclyde region with some of the ideas that the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, had in mind. I am sorry if I have digressed a little from the main point. I would say, therefore, that the argument for fragmentation is, in my opinion, not well established, and I should not like the Government to feel that the whole weight of opinion is in favour of some scrapping of the ideas that they have put forward.


Before the noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, gets up—because he will want to be last in this debate, and we are allowed to speak more than once when we are in Committee—may I say that I think that the speech which my noble friend has just made would have been much more appropriate on the debate that we had on the Question, Whether Clause 1 shall stand part of the Bill?, when there was the opportunity to look at the whole principle. The only reason why the question of Strathclyde has arisen is because the whole argument about these Amendments could take on a different light altogether if something else were being done. The noble Lord said that he thought that before we went into this discussion we ought to have read Wheatley. I hope he is not under the misapprehension that at least some of us have not done that. As a matter of fact, I can think of one noble Earl on the Benches opposite whose name appears regularly in the Marshalled List of Amendments who probably has been through it even oftener than Lord Wheatley himself. That is the first point.

To talk about the detaching of this small part on the tip of the Strathclyde region as in any way approaching fragmentation of Strathclyde is, I think, a complete misuse of language. It is not going to matter in the slightest to Strathclyde whether the Girvan area is in or out. It will make a substantial difference, perhaps, to the South-West Region, but that would not be fragmenting that region: it would be adding to it. I am not suggesting that when we come to the discussion on Strathclyde what may be put forward may be fragmentation. I would only suggest to my noble friend that before he says that Wheatley is the only thing to be considered in this area, and before he condemns any alternative, he should at least do us the justice of waiting to see whether we can come up with any alternative. He can condemn it then if he likes; but to tell us in advance that we are attempting something which is impossible just because nobody has accomplished it up to the present is, I think, defeatism of the greatest order.

Nobody has been involved in this matter at greater length—not even the noble Lord, Lord Polwarth—than I have myself been, because it is no secret that the previous Administration spent more time trying to find an alternative to Strathclyde than over all the rest of Wheatley put together. The previous Administratiton did not find it. Nor did the present Government spend so much time trying to find an alternative because they liked the Strathclyde region. The reason why everybody spent so much time trying to do something about it is because so few people like it. If that is the position it is our business, as members of a legislative body, to try still further to find out if there is a better way in which to deal with it. If there is not a better way in which to deal with it, then these Amendments which the noble Marquess has put forward are obviously ones which are worthy of the consideration of the Committee; and it was only because of that that I suggested, in agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, and the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, that there was merit in deferring them until we saw what happened to the major proposition.


We have a very long way to go on this Bill, and while I agree with everything that the noble Marquess has said, I would suggest to him that in view of what the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, said in his previous speech to us he might consider it wise at this stage to withdraw his Amendment.


May I assist your Lordships in coming to a decision on a matter of fact? This question depends upon the views of the people of Girvan—the Burgh of Girvan and the District of Girvan. My noble friend (if he does not mind my calling him that) Lord Ballantrae told us that the Burgh of Girvan voted 8 to 4 in favour of Girvan going into the South-West Region, and that the District of Girvan was unanimously of the opposite view. I think the mistake was a very easy one to make in view of certain Press reports at the time, but the facts are that the meeting of the Girvan District Council which took place on Monday, March 19, was discussing a recommendation that they should support Ayr County Council in their fight to retain Ayrshire as a separate unit. Now that, of course, did not take place. That was the only issue involved at that meeting; and to quote the words of the district clerk himself, "The question of supporting the South-West or the West was not at issue at all, despite later reports".

4.48 p.m.


This contest has gone a good few rounds, and if it were to be decided on rounds the balance would be fairly even. I would submit that on points the opponents of the Amendment have it. I will not be drawn into the wider discussion, into which this has developed, on Strathclyde—there will be a later opportunity for that—but I would submit to your Lordships that there really are rather convincing reasons why Girvan should remain where we have suggested it in the Bill, whatever may happen about Strathclyde. I appreciate that there are very divided views— this is quite clear—from those who know the area, and I would place considerable weight on the personal knowledge of the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, living where he does. I think that a great deal of the opposition to the present situation arises from what we have referred to before; namely, the motivation of wanting not to be in somewhere rather than to be in somewhere. I am all for considering, within reason, the wishes of the people in the communities, but we must think of certain other considerations.

We must agree, I think, that the main links, the main community of interest, of the Girvan area is to the North rather than to the South. Whether you look at it in transport links and public services or in the pattern of travelling to work, 17 per cent. of the working population of Girvan district on a recent count work in the rest of Ayrshire and less than 1 per cent. in Wigtown and Kirkcudbrightshire. There are strong connections with Ayr for shopping and other services, and in administrative links with regard to the hospital, police, fire and electricity services. While one can understand a fellow feeling as between Girvan district area—a rural fishing area—and its neighbours to the South, I submit that that is not a good reason to attach it for administrative purposes to the Dumfries and Galloway region.

I think that the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, put this clearly on Second Reading and he reinforced that view to-day. With great respect I thought that the noble Countess, Lady Loudoun, did Girvan less than justice when she said that the only "addition" that Girvan would bring to Strathclyde—I think that was her word—was nothing but size. On the contrary, it would bring to Strathclyde a flourishing and vigorous community and one which I am sure would have an influence in the Strathclyde region, for all its size and whatever its final form. The noble Lord, Lord Tanlaw, raised one specific point about harbours. Here again, there is the feeling that by being in a larger authority your institutions will receive less attention. I do not believe that this is the case when a new larger pattern is established. What is more, the larger authority will have larger resources at its disposal for the various institutions, be it harbours or anything else, and we shall give every encouragement to devolve the administration, on harbours for example, to the localities even though the urban power is retained.

May I hark back again to my map of 1714, because then they were fairly sensible over the division of the country. On that map the boundary between Carrick and Galloway follows not exactly the line we propose, but very slightly to the North. It follows the line of the river Stinchar with which the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, will be familiar, and that is well to the South of Girvan. At that time Girvan was clearly a province, area or whatever it was called, of Carrick. I would therefore recommend your Lordships, in all the circumstances, not to accept the Amendment.


I have listened to the pleas that I should withdraw the Amendment but I do not understand the procedure. I have seen no, Amendment from the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, by which he would effect what he is proposing to do, and therefore I am reluctant to withdraw my Amendment at this stage. We should have something or nothing, and so far I see nothing. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, can enlighten me.


I have made clear that I am not guaranteeing to produce any Amendment, but I am attempting to do so. I have also pointed out that that does not deprive the noble Marquess of his opportunity. I have suggested that he re-table the Amendment for Report stage. If he is going to carry his Amendment on a Division to-day he could equally well be able to do so on a Division on Report stage. Even more so, because some of us who would not vote for his Amendment at this stage would do so on Report, should it become the only course available. I would not vote for his Amendment to-day but I might at the next stage, should it become necessary.


Your Lordships may wonder what an English Lord has to do with this debate, but I had the good fortune to marry a girl from the Girvan area and therefore I have taken a great interest in this matter. If I have by any chance missed the point I must apologise to my old friend, the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, because I missed half of his speech. I know from correspondence with him that unfortunately we do not see eye to eye in this matter, although we live very close to each other at certain times of the year.

There are two points I wish to make. First, I have had considerable correspondence with the town council of Girvan, the elected representatives of the people of Girvan, and they have undoubtedly, on 35 occasions, talked about this and they have agreed that they wish to remain, as under the original Government proposal, in South-West Scotland. Why are all these arguments advanced now for the alteration, that Girvan district should go to Strathclyde, when obviously there were originally very good reasons in the Government's view for putting it into Galloway? The fact remains that they have voted, as has been said, eight to four to go into Galloway. My own view, as one living on the Stinchar at certain times of the year unfortunately, not very often—is that that part of the world has far more in common with Galloway than it has with the great and amorphous mass of Strathclyde.

In my view, the best solution of all is Lord Ballantrae's solution, that the whole thing should be looked at again, and that Ayrshire should remain in its present position as a county on its own with a balanced population. After talking to a great many people I am quite sure that this would give the most satisfaction to those who live in that area. But failing that—I admit this matter is evenly balanced—if Ayrshire cannot be retained, I, and I believe a great many other people, would like to see it go into South-West Scotland. I should like the whole matter to be examined again; otherwise, I say unequivocably that I shall support my noble friend Lord Ailsa's Amendment.


Having listened to what has been said, I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment so that I may wait to see what happens; and I will, if necessary, table the Amendment again on Report.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


This matter has been discussed. I beg to move Amendment No. 4.

Amendment moved— Page 150, line 46, leave out ("Central") and insert ("Forth").—(Lord Balerno.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

4.58 p.m.

THE EARL OF LAUDERALE moved Amendment No. 5: Page 151, line 21, column 2, leave out ("Ettrick Forest") and insert ("Ettrick and Lauderdale").

The noble Earl said: This Amendment is moved at the instance of the Member of Parliament for Berwick and East Lothian in another place and is supported by his predecessor in that Office, my noble friend Lord Kilmany. It arises simply upon the motion not only of the Royal Burgh of Lauder but also of many district folk, more than 500 of whom have in the last couple of weeks either written letters or signed petitions. It is also supported by local authorities representing a substantial majority of the population of the proposed new district. As far back as 1845 Sinclair's statistical account of Scotland read that: The vale through which the Leader water flows has from time immemorial been termed Lauderdale.

Back in 1662, Blaeu's Atlas—the whole eleven volumes of which may be consulted in the Library of another place—which was published in Amsterdam in that year, gave this description of Lauderdale, and I take leave to try to translate it into English—unless noble Lords would prefer me to read it in Latin. The translation reads: On the East, Lauderdale has its border with the Merse; on the South, with Tweed-dale, which also closes it in on the East. The Lothians provide the border to the North. Camden's Britannia, earlier still, in 1607, had something to say about Ettrick Forest. Camden equates Ettrick Forest simply with the sheriffdom of Selkirk and no more, and he confirms that the Ettrick Forest lies South of the Tweed, not North of it.

In our own Library, Nos. 69, 70 and 63 of the One-inch Ordnance Survey, maps currently to-day show Selkirkshire as Ettrick Forest (that is in No. 69) and Lauderdale as the area—


Perhaps I may interrupt my noble friend for one moment. It may be of help to him, and save him time in developing his argument, if I say that it is my intention, subject to one later remark, to recommend your Lordships to accept this Amendment.


With those words, let me merely thank my noble friend heartily on behalf of the people of Lauder and Lauderdale, who have a tremendous community spirit; who have shown immense interest in this matter; who have rallied—but in view of what has been said, I need not weary your Lordships with all the material. I have pages of petitions and letters which I had intended to read out only to demonstrate. Let me simply say to my noble friend how grateful I am to remark that, just as flags are the symbol of nations, names are the cornerstone of history. This case is supported by public opinion. I beg to move, and I thank my noble friend at the same time.


I have no wish to anticipate any other noble Lords who wish to express views on this Amendment, as of course they are entitled to do; but perhaps, in view of the amount of work remaining before us, I should just explain our position on this. Admittedly, when we had our original consultations with the local authorities on names in the Borders the majority were in favour of a name related mainly or solely to the name "Ettrick". As one well acquainted with the area, I agree entirely with what my noble friend who moved the Amendment has said; namely, that "Ettrick Forest" is restrictive in this context. It does not technically and in the historical sense include a large area of this proposed new district.

I would recommend your Lordships to accept the Amendment, subject only to the proviso that if the authorities in the area concerned should register strongly their disagreement with this change of name between now and a further stage of the Bill, we may ask your Lordships to think again.


I think it was Mr. Churchill who said that when you have a thing where you want it, it is a good plan to leave it where it is. That would be my contribution, adding my own thanks to my noble friend who has spoken for the Government.


May I just add that I hope the sentiment which the noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, has just expressed about accepting this subject to alteration only when he knows what the people concerned want, is a principle which is going to run through the Bill and will not apply just to Ettrick and Lauderdale.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

5.3 p.m.

BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD moved Amendment No. 5A: Page 151, line 39, column 2, leave out ("Merse") and insert ("Berwickshire").

The noble Baroness said: This Amendment refers to the alteration which has been requested by various people in this venture to change the district title of "Merse" to "Berwickshire". The title "Merse" applies to only a small part of Berwickshire, and not to the whole country. The name is well-known in the Borders, but it is not so well-known outside. It is a very rich part of the county, but it is a limited part of the country. "Berwickshire" is the name of a county of long standing. Everyone knows where it is. People coming through Berwickon-Tweed arrive in Berwickshire, and it is a very recognisable area of the Borders. I have been asked by the Convener of the county, by the Lord Lieutenant and one or two others, to put forward this alternative name for the Merse district, and I very much hope that the Government will accept the Amendment. I beg to move.


In rising to support this Amendment perhaps I should apologise to my noble friend on the Front Bench for its late arrival on the Marshalled List, but I assure him that that is not due to any lack of feeling on the matter in Berwickshire. I, too, have been asked by the Convener of the county, who has the unanimous support of all the provosts of the burghs concerned, to make every endeavour to persuade the Government to meet their wishes and to retain the well-known name of "Berwickshire"—weal kept and of good repute. Why not retain it? Perhaps I may add one point, which I believe would have appealed to my noble friend Lord Ballantrae had he not left the Chamber. When I was Member for Berwick and East Lothian on more than one occasion I had the opportunity of travelling to Australia. Again and again I was introduced to people who told me: "Oh, my father was born in Scotland." And when I said "Where?", quite often the answer was: "He was born in Berwickshire." This may be a far cry, but maybe there is something to it. I am not saying that anyone who goes from the Merse in Berwickshire to Australia, New Zealand or Canada will not know very well that he came from the Merse, but I do say that his children and grandchildren may not be aware of the fact. What they will know is that they came from Berwickshire. We have not too many ties in keeping the Dominions and the old country together. Let us not abandon even this small tie.


Just in case my noble friend the Minister feels that he has been going too far in agreeing, I should like to support strongly my noble friend Lady Elliot in her reasons. The term "the Merse" is used, but in a rather specialised way, as being that very fertile strip of land along the Tweed, and does not really include all the upland country of Berwick- shire. I was told by the Convener that the district advisory council, which met two days ago, asked that the name should be changed back to "Berwickshire".


I wonder whether this is just a Scottish method of capturing Berwick back for Scotland!




I think I should begin by declaring an interest, in that my title stems from a village within Berwickshire. That said, and the local authorities, apparently, having had this change of heart about their future designation, I would gladly recommend your Lordships to accept the Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

5.10 p.m.

LORD HUGHES moved Amendment No. 6: Page 152, leave out lines 16 to 20.

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 6. If one looks at it, one finds that it is taking certain parts out of the City of Glasgow—the burghs of Bearsden, Clydebank, Milngavie, and the district of Old Kilpatrick, except the electoral divisions of Bowling and Dunbarton. I do not intend to make a long speech on this Amendment because I think that fairly few and simple remarks are all that are necessary to meet the case for this alteration. I should like to refer to what I said earlier regarding the general principle. There is no doubt that together these communities fulfil the requirements of a district of the size and resources adequate to carry out the functions which are to be the responsibility of districts. In the papers which this group of burghs in this county district submitted to many of your Lordships, they pointed out that in size they would be eighteenth in the whole of the districts in Scotland; so more than two-thirds of the districts which are in the Bill would be of smaller population size than this one.

I hope that I am not going to misquote the noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, but I believe that on Second Reading he said that the part of the argument which most impressed him was the question of representation. That is the only one to which I now wish to address myself. If these burghs and this district remain part of the district of Glasgow, they will have altogether something like six or seven councillors to look after their interests. On the other hand, as a separate district they will probably have perhaps 15 or 20, or something of that order.

The principles which animated Wheatley—and they are referred to in documents which we have received—were that where the interests of a district can be better served by joining them up with a larger area, that is the right thing to do. I am, of course, paraphrasing; but I can see no reason to suggest that the interests of Bearsden, Milngavie and Clydebank would be better served by being an appendage of Glasgow. The same arguments apply to at least some of the proposals to detach areas from Glasgow. There is probably an overwhelming case in any regional set-up for them to be associated with part of the region in which the City of Glasgow lies. On regional functions there is no doubt of the com plete unity of interests between these and still more of the surrounding areas. But on district functions—and it is districts we are talking about in this Amendment, together with the associated Amendments further down: I think Amendment No. 11 is the second part of this series—we are talking about a district which is perfectly capable of carrying out the job which districts are supposed to do.

I have said more than once that I am willing to accept decisions arrived at in another place in these matters, but I should like to recite the history of this one. In Committee in another place it was decided by a majority that these parts should be detached from the City of Glasgow. There, as here, there had to be two Amendments: one to take them out of Glasgow and another to put them somewhere else. By a majority, they were taken out. But the second part of the operation—to put them into a separate district—was in fact, if I remember rightly, the first Business on a succeeding day and the proposal was defeated by a small majority on that occasion. What would have happened if all those who had taken part in the earlier procedure to take them out of Glasgow had been present, I do not know.

When the Bill went on to the Floor of the House, the Government were faced with the situation that, on the one hand, these districts had been taken out of Glasgow and, on the other hand, they had not been put anywhere else. So we had a situation which would lead to almost perfect local government—these people were going to be left to their own devices! The Government did perhaps the only thing that could be done in these circumstances, faced with an anomaly of this kind—they adopted the method of restoring the Bill to what it had been before, rather than moving a second Amendment which would have the effect of setting up a separate district. There was a majority in favour of the situation which is now before us. I think that decision was wrong and the right decision was the one which would undoubtedly have been made in Committee if both parts of the procedure had been voted on at the same time. I therefore beg to move Amendment No. 6 and, if it is carried, I promise that I shall not speak to Amendment No. 11.


I should like to support the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, on this Amendment. I think that it is fundamental in considering the words, "local government" to remember particularly the word, "local". This vast area of Strathclyde makes a nonsense of that word. That is all I have to say.


I rise to support the Amendment which has been so ably moved by the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, following, let me say, a most notable speech which he made on Clause 1. I discover from the White Paper (Cmnd. 4583) that district authorities—and I quote: … will concentrate on caring for and improving the local environment. Also, that in regard to planning they should deal with the day-to-day development control and prepare local plans. In regard to housing we are told they will be able to maintain and improve the quality of house-building for local needs. Then one learns that local health and amenity will be an important part of the responsibility of district authorities. If I then turn to Wheatley, I learn that local government exists to provide services locally. That means that services are to be, in a real sense, locally controlled. There must be an element of choice exercisable locally.

From all that, it seems that one has to consider what "local" really means. In terms of the Bill, it embraces in the Glasgow district a huge area from the very northernmost point of the Old Kilpatrick district to the most Southern point in the first district of County of Renfrew; from Clydebank in the West to the Eastern boundary of the Carmunnock electoral divisions in the East. To use the word "local" in connection with an area of that size is really somewhat nonsensical, and I should like to ask my noble friend Lord Polwarth to consider what community of interests can possibly exist between, let us say, Bearsden and the Gorbals. What have they in common in relation to planning, to housing, or in fact to many of the other district services which, according to Wheatley, should be locally controlled? Here perhaps I may be excused for elaborating on certain of the matters referred to by the noble Lord opposite. What voice will the burghs of Bearsden, Milngavie and Clydebank have in relation to district policy with reference to any of the services allotted to the district council?

Like the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, I understand that the proposed Kilpatricks district will under the Bill be represented by seven district councillors on the Glasgow Council, out of a total of 84. Their influence will be proportionate to their number—in fact they will be of little or no account. The problems of the City of Glasgow are so great, particularly in relation to housing and planning, that matters of concern to the proposed Kilpatricks district, to Bishopbriggs, and indeed Eastwood—to which we shall come later—will, in comparison, though of great importance and interest to those places, be so trivial as to receive little, if any, attention.

Wheatley states that local government should bring the reality of government nearer to the people. In so far as the Dunbartonshire burghs are concerned it is doing nothing of the kind; and that applies also to Bishopbriggs. It is putting the people further away from the reality of government. To-day they provide all the services proposed in the Bill for a district. The people are in close touch with their 61 councillors. They can speedily have their views and their grievances investigated and considered. How different will be their position when everything of importance to the citizen is to be Settled by a district council of 84 members, representing places miles apart, with very little, if any, community of interest!

Let me return to Wheatley. He says: In enlarging the city boundaries only those parts of the hinterland should be included that would be better served and more effectively administered from the city than from the centre of any other district authority. The people in Kilpatricks are fully satisfied with the manner in which their affairs are looked after. Can anyone say, would anyone even suggest, that they would be better served and more effectively administered under the Glasgow district council? The people wish to be a district apart from Glasgow. In number and resources they make a viable unit. The Scottish Standing Committee, as the noble Lord has said, excluded the Kilpatricks from Glasgow, but the Scottish Office made use of the Government's majority in the other place to overturn the Committee's decision and thereby deny to the people their wish to continue to be independent. I ask your Lordships to restore to the Kilpatricks the position which the Standing Committee accorded to them, and to support this group of Amendments.

5.34 p.m.


This is a matter to which I have given serious consideration. In weighing up a position like this one has to balance carefully as to whether the City of Glasgow would lose some benefit because the burghs of Bearsden, Clydebank or Milngavie were taken out; whether that district, if it is to be a separate district, is big enough and viable enough to work, and whether it will be of real benefit to the region of Strathclyde. On all these points I am certain that the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, and the other noble Lords who have put their names to this Amendment, have come up with the right answer. They have weighed up the position very carefully and I am certain that this is a big enough area to make a satisfactory district. It will, if I may quote my noble friend Lord Balemo, reduce the power of the second "Pope", the Lord Provost of Glasgow, without weakening Glasgow as an entity. Equally, I am certain that, whatever happens to Strathclyde, this extra district will be a benefit.


I intervened earlier in the debate to-day in defence of the region of Strathclyde on the grounds that there were certain controls and certain responsibilities which can be discharged effectively only by a large regional authority. I want your Lordships to realise that that is not at all inconsistent with my support now for the Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Hughes. What we are discussing now is district responsibility, with limited responsibilities and powers for districts. As has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, what is essential in district government is a feeling on the part of people that they can influence the decisions of the district, and for the elected councillors to be responsive to the needs of the district. Over the years, like the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, I have watched the city of Glasgow and its government. One thing that stands out is the deterioration in the interest in local government in the city of Glasgow, which is responsible for a population of around a million. During that same period, and quite recently, Bearsden was detached from the large local authority with which it was formerly associated. I have observed at close hand, by family connections, the liveliness of elections in the Bearsden Burgh. Here you have a smaller area feeling that they have some responsibility for local government.

On questions relating to the environment, I believe it is important that there should be an intimate connection between the elected councillor and his constituents. This may be lost in putting Bearsden, Milngavie and this group into the larger Glasgow area, and I suggest that local government might suffer. The local authority best understands the local services required by the local community, and I would regard this Amendment as not at all inconsistent with anything I said in defence of Strathclyde or anything that was written by the Wheatley Commission.


I have one point to add to the excellent arguments of the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, and, more especially, of my noble friend Lord Strathclyde. By removing periphery parts from the city of Glasgow you are left with a smaller Glasgow; therefore you can have a greater representation of councillors in Glasgow per head of population and a better proportion. Therefore you will get not only better local government in the districts which are detached from the present proposals for Glasgow, but better representation within what remains of the city of Glasgow.


I should have thought the people of Bearsden and this area had made their case very well. We have all received letters from them and they are very keen about it. The noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, has said that he wants to do what the people want. Here is a splendid example of being able to do that. My second point is that I should like to underline what the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Gryfe, said: the sharp distinction between what might be necessary as strategic planning at a higher level, and the work of a district council, which is of an entirely different character. It deals with district matters, and if your Lordships wish it I will read them out. They are all matters within the district concerned. There is no reason why they should not be carried out on a very much smaller scale.

5.30 p.m.


I should like to start by correcting a remark of the noble Earl who has just sat down. He said that I had stated that everything should be decided according to what everybody wanted. I do not think this is quite the case. In referring to nomenclature, I said we had taken consultations to see what the majority wanted and tried to act on that. But I also, I think, made the point that in fundamental matters there were other considerations than, not necessarily what people want but what they think they want, and very often what they do not want—which is, I suspect, what largely underlies this series of Amendments for the removal of parts of the proposed Glasgow district on the periphery. I think that these communities are not so much seeking an identity of their own but rather are afraid of "Big Brother", and are probably afraid of "Big Brother" in its present form. One point which I should make here is that we are not simply looking forward to a continuation of the Corporation of the City of Glasgow as it is at present. This is how I think so many of the surrounding communities are looking at this question.


On that point would the noble Lord say what the representation of the City of Glasgow will be in relation to the other parts to be included in the district?


I could probably produce that information, given a little time. I cannot give it immediately, but I can say that the so-called dominance in terms of representation of the City is perhaps not quite as substantial as may be imagined. I will endeavour, if it is possible before I finish, to have the figures for the surrounding district. Of the proposed Glasgow district council there will be 84 members of the new area proposed in the Bill. The present membership of the Corporation of Glasgow within the present City boundary is 111 members, which is considerably larger than the proposed membership in the future. I do not deny for a moment that the communities proposed in the Amendment to form the district of Kilpatricks are not, on the strength of numbers and area, able to be viable as a district. I think it is clear enough that they could.

There are other considerations basic to Wheatley, who has been cited, not always absolutely fairly, by some noble Lords in their remarks. The question is: what is a community? The principle of community of interests is very much underlying the whole of the set-up, whether in regard to districts or regions. Is a community to-day what it used to be in the past, with slower methods of transport, much less communication, much less mobility? Can we really say that the present boundaries of the City of Glasgow (because this is virtually what noble Lords in these Amendments are seeking to retain) are a satisfactory designation of a unit of a community of interest? I think the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, asked what Bearsden has in common with the Gorbals. Equally one can ask: what does Knights Wood or Anniesland have in common with the Gorbals?—both within the boundaries of the present City.

This question of community is a moot point. Is it not a fact that these surrounding areas have the great majority of their links not with each other, not with other outer areas of the country, but with the City of Glasgow and its centre. I could go into the details of them in relation to each single Amendment in due course, but if one turns to the first one finds that virtually all the main communication links are radial from the City to these communities. There is very little direct public transport or travel to work between any of them. The travel to work pattern is between the communities and Glasgow. It is a remarkably two-way traffic; it is not by any means all commuting into the City. Seventy-one per cent. of the resident population of Bearsden and 26 per cent. of those in Milngavie travel to work in Glasgow, to take only one example. And as for two-way traffic, the situation with Clydebank is very interesting. Twentyeight per cent. travel from Clydebank to Glasgow; 34 per cent. travel in the reverse direction. It is a two-way ebb and flow of traffic, and there is a great community of interest, I suggest, established on that basis.

There is no doubt that these peripheral communities rely largely on the City of Glasgow in relation to entertainment, for their major shopping requirements and for other purposes. I am not as pessimistic about the disappearance of influence on the terms of the number of representatives that these communities will have in the new set-up as opposed to their being left on their own. If we carried this process to its logical conclusion we should have every community that was going to have a lower ratio of representation per head wanting to be put in a position where this was not the case, and one would have to try to even out all Scotland so that there was parity throughout. That of course would be quite impossible to achieve. Might there not be some advantage in not always thinking of being the big frog in the little pond; that sometimes one can play a more useful part in the opposite direction? Might it not be a good thing for the City of Glasgow that many of those who work in it and travel home to these peripheral communities should be able to have a say and play a part in the administration of the affairs of the City of Glasgow? I believe that we shall secure a much more effective and efficient local government authority if there is this greater freedom. Increasing the calibre of representation is of immense importance, and at least this would help to bring it about.

There are other factors here, but I am bound to say that the Government's view in relation to these peripheral communities is that they are part of the total community of the Greater Glasgow area. Many of them are virtually attached by built-up areas. Certainly if we take these separate communities which it is proposed should constitute the new Kilpatrick district we find that they are much further from other centres and have very little community of interest one with another. I have much sympathy with those who want to be detached and to be on their own, who want to be part of a smaller entity; but nevertheless I submit to your Lordships that it is contrary to the principles of Wheatley that we should detach these peripheral areas.

I can now give some figures. The 84 members of the proposed new district authority of Glasgow will be spread as to 62—roughly three-quarters—from what is the present City of Glasgow area, and 22—just over one quarter—representing the peripheral communities covered in this series of Amendments; namely, Clydebank, Bearsden, Milngavie, Bishopbriggs, Rutherglen, Eastwood and Giffnock. So I think it is not fair to say that these peripheral communities will not have a substantial influence in the affairs of this Greater Glasgow district which we are proposing, and on the basis of those arguments the Government submit that what is proposed in the Bill is the correct and best course and recommend to your Lordships not to support the Amendment.


I do not want to prolong the discussion, but as I have my name down to this Amendment may I just suggest to your Lordships that the affinities which my noble friend has been describing between these peripheral areas and the City of Glasgow, movements from one to the other, roads, transport and so on, are relevant to the functions of the regional authority, but not, I think, to the functions of the district authority; and that is a point which may arise again on subsequent Amendments.


Perhaps I may say just a word here. My noble friend referred to "Big Brother" in its present form. One of the problems is that that is exactly what worries me: that "Big Brother" is that big. Secondly, he referred to the boundaries in their present form. This is the other problem. If the boundary extended to green fields, then I should be all for Glasgow's having the opportunity to expand. But it cannot expand, so far as I can see, into the burghs of Bearsden, Clydebank and Milngavie because they are so heavily built up—unless even the school playing fields are to disappear. May I furthermore say that while I think that the burghs of Bearsden, Clydebank and Milngavie can make a satisfactory district, on the other hand, I am not satisfied with the evidence produced that anything in the county of Lanark should be taken out or could make a separate district. They are two very different points. In other words, I would say at this stage that I am prepared to support Amendment No. 6 but not Nos. 7, 8 and 9.


Before we decide on this Amendment, I should like to make it clear that both the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Gryfe, and myself have served for many years on the city council in the City of Glasgow. Not only that, but we were members of that great city, that great community, and we ask my noble friend the Minister to believe that we know something of what we are talking about.

5.42 p.m.


I am sorry that the Minister has chosen this point to stop agreeing with what seems to be the majority of your Lordships' Committee so far as it is present. It was rather interesting to have the figures which he gave in reply to his noble friend Lord Strathclyde, and he said that the "Big Brother" that we know is not going to be the "Big Brother" of the future. I should like to make it perfectly clear that in proposing this Amendment, and in supporting other Amendments to keep these authorities out of Glasgow, I do not in any way wish to denigrate what the City of Glasgow has done under one Party or another over many years. But its problems are very great. Some of them are peculiar to Glasgow as it is, and I agree with those who have said that, by adding these areas to it, they can see nothing which will help Glasgow in the solution of its present problems. If one had been seeking, in terms of the sort of situation we have had in the past, to enlarge boundaries by annexing large parts of the surrounding country to give land on which to build houses and so on, I could understand it; but what in fact is being done is to add built-up area to built-up area to no useful purpose so far as I can see in the terms of district government. As has been said, particularly by the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Gryfe, when we come to regional problems they are something else altogether. Obviously there must be a greater area than the present city of Glasgow taken into consideration.

To come back to the figures, somebody quoted the number of councillors there are in these three burghs at the present time. I believe the number was 60. Glasgow as it stands is to be reduced from 111 to 62. In other words, their future representation will be approximately 60 per cent. in numbers compared to the figure at the present time. That is not such a terribly difficult thing to accomplish. Each man will have a slightly bigger area, will represent a slightly larger number—40 per cent. more—of electors than at the present time. But the burghs which we are speaking about in these Amendments are going to be reduced from 60 to 7—little more than one-tenth of the number they have to look after their interests at the present time.

The Minister said that this is all very well, but if we wanted to do this we should have to apply it throughout the country and this would make nonsense. We are not suggesting it. In my earlier remarks I said that if a community was being reduced to, say, a third or a quarter of its present strength then they would perhaps accept it; but to be reduced to just a fragment, a small portion, of one's present strength, and then to have that just becoming an even smaller proportion of a very much larger body of councillors, is the sort of thing which makes the proposition totally unacceptable. In so far as district functions are concerned, this is not local government; this is annexation, and there is no reason why we should do it. After all, if one were looking at it from a purely political point of view, one wonld say, "Yes. Make Glasgow more and more powerful." But this is not what local government is about. Local government is not just politics; local government is looking after the interests of the local people. I suggest that if two burghs such as Bearsden and Milrgavie agree that they would be better governed by an association with Clydebank, rather than joining together as part of the City of Glasgow, obviously they have gone into the matter fully.

Reference has been made (I think by my noble friend Lord Taylor of Gryfe) to the voting position in Glasgow. When these particular proposals were discussed and voted upon in these burghs they had over a 70 per cent. poll. This is the measure of interest, and I therefore regret that the Minister is sticking to what was Government policy in another place, rather than accepting the facts of life.


I have listened to the whole of this debate, not knowing very much about it before the Committee stage. The noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, made a considerable point about the number of people who went to these areas, from the district or from the burghs to Glasgow. In no case was it the majority. So far as I am concerned, what is interesting is the number of people who stay behind, not those who go to Glasgow, because those who stay behind are really concerned with what happens in the daily life of the area. The second point the noble Lord made was to the effect that the district or the burgh really had no affinities. But if they become one on their own, I think they will very soon discover their affinities. So, in the light of I think the unanimous expressions that have been made by your Lordships, I hope that the noble Lord will think again before deciding to remain where he is at the present time.


I was impressed by the plea of the noble Earl who has just sat down, who spoke from the vantage point of a certain degree of detachment from these issues which raise such high emotions for those who are more closely connected with them. I would take the view, after hearing what I think it would be fair to call the unanimous view of those who have spoken in favour of this Amendment, that I should be prepared, if the noble Lord would agree to withdraw his Amendment, to take this matter back to my right honourable friend and report to him the strongly held

views of the Members of your Lordships' Committee who have shown themselves interested in this business, and see whether we can reach an accommodation on this matter. I cannot, it will be appreciated, give any undertaking in this place. I must therefore leave it to the noble Lord whether he wishes to press his Amendment or whether he will allow me to act on that basis.


I try to be accommodating with the noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, but in this case I think it would be a mistake to do so. The best way in which he can impress his right honourable friend with the strength of feeling in the Committee is to go to him and say, Well, once again Milngavie and company have been taken out of Glasgow. I think we should just let the matter rest there." I doubt whether the Government would feel that Wheatley is going to come tumbling down if all of these areas are taken out of Glasgow. This is one case where I think another place and the Secretary of State for Scotland will be perfectly content to abide by the decision at which we arrive.

5.50 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 6) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 71; Not-Contents, 27.

Aberdeen and Temair, M. Elliot of Harwood, B. Rankeillour, L.
Ailsa, M. Gainford, L. Rusholme, L
Allerton, L. Gaitskell, B. St. Davids, V.
Archibald, L. Greenwood of Rossendale, L. [Teller.] Saint Oswald, L.
Atholl, D. Selkirk, F.
Balerno, L. Hall, V. Sempill, Ly.
Balfour, E. Henderson, L. Shackleton, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Hoy, L. Shinwell, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Hughes, L. Sinclair of Cleeve, L.
Beswick, L. Janner, L. Slater, L
Blyton, L. Kilmany, L. Somers, L.
Brockway, L. Kinloss, Ly. Stocks, B.
Burton, L. Kinnoull, E. Strathclyde, L.
Champion, L. Lauderdale, E. Stratheden and Campbell, L.
Chorley, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B. Tanlaw, L.
Clancarty, E. Loudoun, C. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Coleraine, L. Lyell, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Conesford, L. Macleod of Borve, B. Vivian, L.
Crawshaw, L. Maelor, L. Wakefield of Kendal, L.
Cromartie, E. Mar, E. Williamson, L.
Crook, L. Margadale, L. Wise, L.
Davies of Leek, L. Merrivale, L. Wootton of Abinger, B.
de Clifford, L. Northchurch, B. Wright of Ashton under Lyne, I.
Dundee, E. [Teller.] Perth, E.
Dundonald, E.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Brooke of Ystradfellte, B. Daventry, V.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Craigavon, V. Denham, L. [Teller.]
Drumalbyn, L. Merthyr, L. Sandford, L.
Ferrers, E. Mowbray and Stourton, L. [Teller.] Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Gowrie, E.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone,L. (L. Chancellor.) Nugent of Guildford, L. Trefgarne, L.
Polwarth, L. Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, B.
Limerick, E. St. Aldwyn, E. Windlesham, L. (L. Privy Seal.)
Lothian, M. St. Helens, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Mancroft, L. St. Just, L. Young, B.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Resolved in the Affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.


In calling Amendment No. 7 may I remind the Committee that if this Amendment is agreed to Nos. 8 and 9 cannot be called.

5.59 p.m.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK moved Amendment No. 7: Page 152, line 21, leave out from ("Lanark") to end of line 32 and insert ("The Burgh of Rutherglen").

The noble Earl said: If I may relieve your Lordships of embarrassment I may say that I do not propose to divide the Committee on this Amendment, and therefore if it is desired to carry the subsequent Amendments, that can be done. I am raising here, in the fullest sense, the question of what is the Government policy in regard to the existing boundaries of Glasgow. If I may say so, I hope the Government will try to give us some more convincing reason for the policy with which they are proceeding. The districts were laid down by Wheatley as 50,000 to 150,000. We now have 900,000 in Glasgow, and the Government are solemnly intending to increase that by 25 per cent., and, subject to the last Amendment, want to double the size of area which Glasgow is to occupy.

What policy has the noble Lord behind this? He said first of all that Glasgow is an anachronism. I would not call it an anachronism. It is doing a wonderful job in its policy. The noble Lord also said that Glasgow must expand. If there is anything that town planners have ever agreed on since the 1931 Ribbon Development Act it is that we do not want urban sprawl. That is precisely what the noble Lord is advocating here. So far as I can see that is what he is encouraging, and I cannot see the justification for this policy. We have something here which is pretty well the size of a large number of nations sitting in the United Nations. It is about five times the size of the Bahamas to which we have just given independence. This is the area which we are dealing with at present. I think the Government must produce some reason if they want to keep and extend the area as it is. One could metropolitanise it, but I am against that. I would agree with Wheatley, that to metropolitanise it would not be a particularly good thing.

The area I am concerned about is the area lying to the East of Glasgow in the Northern Eighth, Ninth and Tenth districts of Lanarkshire; I will not talk about Bishopbriggs which some of my noble friends wish to talk about. This is an area which suffered heavily in the Industrial Revolution in the middle of the 19th century. It is an area in which coal-mining has stopped, and in which subsidence has stopped altogether. It is an area which the noble Lord knows has been the scene of the most enormous development. This is an area which has always been rather on the periphery of Glasgow and on the periphery of Lanarkshire. It is an area which wants to develop something of its own individuality, which it is capable of doing, and which it has done, in spite of not really having the strength to do so.

Why has not Glasgow previously spread in all directions? Because burghs have been set up. What would be the position to-day in the South-West of Glasgow if one had not got Paisley, Johnstone, Renfrew and Barrhead? Glasgow would have gradually spread out, bit by bit, in that direction, and Renfrew and Paisley would not have been there if there had not been set up some kind of municipal government. To take an example, I know the noble Lord knows Sydney, Australia. That is a town of two million people. Every planner would say it ought to have been made smaller, and every time the decision comes up the city council gives way and the town gets bigger and bigger. Every Australian will tell you it is a mistake. I have a high regard for the Scottish Office, and I know they would do their best to stop Glasgow getting bigger and bigger, but I do not believe they can do it. The only people who can do it is Parliament, by providing in an Act of Parliament that Glasgow shall not get bigger. This is an integral part of what we ought to do in this Act.

From the point of view of administration, too, I believe that we put the Glasgow councillors in a totally impossible position. They must consider developments in Bridgeton, which are urgently needed, and compare that with other development in Cambuslang. It is a difficult comparison for them to make. This area could perfectly well have individuality. The noble Lord put all this down to a statement, "the designation of a community of interest". First of all, North Lanarkshire has a community interest with Glasgow University. Not long ago I went to see someone at Stewarts and Lloyds when they moved to Corby. People liked it there but someone told me, "I cannot send my son to university". In that sense the community of interest is very wide. But to take the other side, what community of interest is there for someone living in Cambuslang as compared with Glasgow? It is a separate community. If the noble Lord could find two natives of Cambuslang who will say they are Glaswegians, I will give him a champagne dinner. These people do not regard themselves as Glaswegians. They are people of entirely different character.

There are really three different ways in which this matter could be tackled. One could either set up a separate district which would be, roughly speaking, Rutherglen, Cambuslang, Baillieston and Carmyle. One could add the area to the Cadzow area, or to the East Kilbride area. The East Kilbride area has an enormous area to the immediate South-West. What I ask the noble Lord to do is, if he thinks he really must allow the urban spread to take place, to give us the reasons why it is worthwhile; give us the reasons why it will improve local government and why it will develop the area industrially, and give us the reason why it will make people happier. If he will do that I can vote with him, otherwise we must try and keep the boundaries to a reasonable size. I beg to move.


One thing which has surprised me this afternoon is the number of people who do not want to be associated with Glasgow. This has appeared in speech after speech. Glasgow is a great city. There are many noble Lords and others who have earned a very good livelihood in the City of Glasgow. Glasgow people are a warm and kindhearted people. I do not know why everyone wants to make a case and to ask, "Why should we be associated with Glasgow?" There is great pride in the Glaswegians. We are proud to sing, "I belong to Glasgow."


Is it not a fact that the City of Glasgow is very nearly bankrupt? I am not sure.


I do not think there is any question of that. The finest thing that Glasgow could get out of this is that an Edinburgh man has got up in your Lordships' House to praise Glasgow. The noble Lord may well find himself in future very welcome in Glasgow, but I do not know what his Edinburgh friends will have to say about that. Years ago, the then Lord Provost of Perth used to say the only good thing that came out of Dundee was the last train to Perth, and I thought this was still the relationship which existed between Glasgow and Edinburgh. It is not that Edinburgh people do not like Glasgow. After all, there are many men who can admire many women, but they do not necessarily want to be married to them. This is all that is the case here. People like Glasgow; they like to go to Glasgow, and like Glasgow people to come to them. But they do not want to be with them all the time in the same house—in the next street perhaps, or a little further away; but not in the same house. This is basically the argument for all the surrounding burghs. The only thing that is wrong with the Amendment which the noble Earl has just moved is that he has left in Rutherglen.


For one moment I began to have a glimmer of hope that I had at last found a friend over the matter of Glasgow; but in the event it turned out that Glasgow found an Edinburgh friend. I am delighted. The noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, speaks with enormous experience in this area of local government as well as national government, and I have much sympathy with much that he said. But I feel that he and so many other noble Lords have been basing all their arguments on the assumption that local government will in fact be going on just as before, on the same pattern and with the same functions; that all we are doing is merely a reshuffle of boundaries. That is not the case. We are creating a totally new structure, in two tiers instead of the present mixed one, with separate allocation of functions. The intention is to create local authorities of much greater strength and with much greater resources.

I do not see that the extension of this area to create a new large Glasgow district under the new system is automatically going to lead to total urbanisation, as the noble Earl seemed to fear. This will be a responsible body; it will be the more responsible with the addition of representatives from peripheral areas to it. I should have thought we should wish to see powers of decision over matters of the locality—and I consider that this does form a locality—in the hands of local people and not just subject perpetually to control from St. Andrew's House. We are so often told that St. Andrew's House exerts too much control: here is the opportunity to allow local interests to control their destiny to a greater extent than previously. They will have greater resources and to that extent will be better able to provide facilities for incoming industry. That is all I think I can say on my side of the argument raised by the noble Earl with regard to Glasgow.


All I wish to add is that if these people had to choose between St. Andrew's House and Glasgow they would undoubtedly choose Glasgow; but that is not the choice before them.


I want to make it abundantly clear to your Lordships that I have no grievance with my native city of Glasgow. I am very proud to be a citizen of the city of Glasgow, as indeed my forebears have been for many generations; indeed, we have lived within 18 miles of Glasgow for some six or seven hundred years. So I know what we are talking about and the people with whom we are dealing. The point is not, as the Minister said, the setting up of a new local authority concern. What we want is to have local government, and it is not local government that we shall be getting under this tremendous district. The people are going to be ruled by the majority in the city of Glasgow, whether they agree with them or not, and they have no choice at all. I think the Government are absolutely stupid in this regard.


If I said anything which appeared even remotely discourteous about Glasgow, I withdraw it immediately. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hoy, for what he said. I have the greatest possible regard for much that Glasgow has done and for the way it conducts its business. The noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, has not attempted to answer the central question, and I am rather sorry about this. We are dealing with a district and it was supposed (this point was made by Lord Wheatley) that it should have proper autonomy, have a pride in itself and be able to manage its own affairs locally. This point has not been dealt with, and I find it very hard to understand from what was said in Committee in another place (and I regret that we have not seen the Report and Third Reading debate in the other place) why there should be this extension of a district from 900,000 to one and a quarter million or thereabouts. If I may say so with great respect, the noble Lord seems to be living in the world of the past. He said that of course Glasgow has not expanded for 30 years—as if every burgh had to expand. I understood that one of the purposes of this Bill was to make the distinction between the burghs and the towns and the country disappear. Therefore, Glasgow does not need to expand. Had it not been for this Bill, at least five separate Private Acts of Parliament, each of which would have had to go through private legislation procedure and be proved, would have been required. This is not the case here; no-one has proved anything. I am not going to press this Amendment now, but I have given the noble Lord a choice of either a separate district or joining with the other districts. He has not even considered the possibility; he just says that Glasgow is the supreme answer to everything. I find this very unsatisfactory. I shall make a more precise recommendation at Report stage. Meanwhile, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

6.16 p.m.

LORD KILMANY moved Amendment No. 8: Page 152, line 21, leave out ("burghs") and insert ("burgh").

The noble Lord said: In rising to move this Amendment, which is supported by noble Lords on both sides of the Committee, I take it that it would be convenient to discuss Nos. 8 and 9 together, since No. 8 is purely drafting; but would it not also be convenient to discuss No. 12, which is in the name of the same noble Lords and myself?


I can only call the Amendments in the proper order, but it is perfectly in order to debate several Amendments after I have called one of them.


I am much obliged to the noble Lord. I beg to move Amendment No. 8. My reason for proposing that Bishopbriggs should not be included in the Glasgow district is not just that I had the privilege of representing that part of Lanarkshire for some 14 years from 1931 to 1945, because I do not think one can rely on that old experience to keep one straight. But in common with, I am sure, a great many other Scottish Members of this House. I have been kept informed of local opinion and very well briefed in the situation by those who dwell in Bishopbriggs, and I am left in no doubt whatever that the people of Bishopbriggs do not want to be put into the Glasgow district. There is no nonsense about not liking Glasgow in this matter, as the noble Lord, Lord Hoy, attempted to say, largely in jest, a minute or two ago. The point is, as Lord Hughes so truly says, that we want democratic representation, and the situation at this moment is that Bishopbriggs is a burgh of 12 councillors and it has its provost; it has been properly elected and it is representing its people—some 22,000 people; it is governing those people in local affairs.

Under the Bill as it now stands this town council is to be swept away and pushed into the vast Glasgow district, where the Bishopsbriggs people will be represented by no more than one councillor in a total council of 86. The point has been made before, and I need not repeat it, that that really is no adequate representation. The man gets the 'flu, or is run over by a motorcar and sent to hospital, and then Bishopbriggs is left with not a single representative in the Glasgow District Council. I am sure that the Government agree that this in itself is unsatisfactory. May I quote to my noble friend Lord Polwarth what he said in our Second Reading debate: I admit that the Glasgow district is extraordinarily difficult. Views have been expressed mainly on the side that these peripheral areas…do not have a community of interest with Glasgow. I thought that the most valid argument was advanced by the noble Lord, Lord Hughes; that their proportionate representation, as it were, within the Glasgow district would be much weaker than if they were outside. I think that is the strongest argument in favour of their detachment"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3/7/73, col. 223.] That is the argument that I seek to put to my noble friend on the Front Bench, and I hope that it will not fall upon deaf ears.

May I turn for a moment to the other side of the picture? If we take Bishopbriggs out of the Glasgow district, or rather resist the suggestion of putting it in, will it hurt the Glasgow district? I do not think that it will. On the contrary, I believe, as do so many of my noble friends and noble Lords opposite, that the Glasgow district is going to be much too big. I have taken note of what the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, said in our debate on March 23, 1971, at column 821: In the West, it is a big disappointment to see that Glasgow is to be as big as 1,107,000. I hate to take my lead necessarily from the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, so may I turn to a more respectable source—I hasten to say that is politically, not personally—namely, to the words of my noble friend Lord Selkirk. In the Second Reading debate on July 3, at column 182, he said: I shall certainly support any Amendment to reduce the size of the Glasgow district. I put to my noble friend on the Front Bench that these are the principles that I believe to be right. You want districts to have adequate representation, and one member of the council is not adequate representation. I do not think that you want Glasgow to be too big, because in that case people on the periphery do not get fair consideration of their wants and needs.


I wish to support the noble Lord who moved this Amendment. The arguments here are exactly the same as those that have been put forward in relation to the Kilpatrick district. Here we have a burgh which runs its own affairs, and runs them very well. There is little, if any, community of interest between it and the city of Glasgow—not even in transport. In regard to housing, the waiting list there is of such a length that it satisfies an applicant for a house within 18 months. You have only to compare that with the situation in Glasgow, where the housing situation is so desperately acute. Of the total electors in the burgh, 75 per cent. have stated that they do not wish to go into Glasgow, and a great majority of them have stated that they wish to be included in the Strathkelvin district. I hope that the Committee will agree with the mover of the Amendment and that it will be accepted by the Committee.


The noble Lord who has just sat down has truly said that the arguments are exactly the same as previous arguments, and this is where I find myself in the same position, in that it appears that there is a great gulf fixed between the views of Scottish noble Lords in general and the views of the Government on the whole question of Glasgow and the peripheral areas. It would be tedious of me to recite the arguments again, but I would come back to one point: it was clear from what my noble friend Lord Strathclyde said that noble Lords do not appear to accept that we are ready to have any reform of the pattern of local government. He spoke about Bishopbriggs being a burgh and being perfectly capable of handling its own affairs, and he wants to hold on to Bishopbriggs.

My noble friend Lord Selkirk said that Glasgow had done a splendid job, but was implying that it must remain within its present identical boundary. The logic of what he was arguing was that Wheatley recommended populations of 100,000 to 150,000 for districts. Well, that is all right in the normal run of parts of the world, but if you apply that to the Glasgow area you would have to break down the present city of Glasgow into half a dozen component parts before you obtained this so-called optimum populus. Glasgow is a different situation from anywhere else in Scotland. Simply to constrict it to its present boundary, over which development has split through the years, does not seem to me the right solution when we are looking at a reform of local government which we agreed to in principle in giving a Second Reading to this Bill. I feel that we are in danger, in these individual pleas, of harking back all the time to an existing system and trying to make assumptions based on the existing system of local government, which in fact we have agreed to change in its general pattern. I cannot recommend your Lordships to accept this particular Amendment about Bishopbriggs.


The noble Lord talks about the existing system; that is exactly what I am asking for. He is saying that Glasgow is in a special position. It is in a way, but he is making it more special, and that is what I do not understand.


The noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, in this context remarked upon what is an acceptable size of district and said that Glasgow was different from everything else. He went on insisting that these areas should remain in, which would thereby make certain that it is even more different than it has been in the past. May I pick up the point—the rather unfortunate point—put by the noble Lord, Lord Kilmany, on the subject of respectability? It seems to me that all that the Minister is left with in these matters is the fig leaf of political respectability; otherwise he is completely naked.

6.26 p.m.


The Question is, That Amendment No. 8 be agreed to. As many as are of that opinion will say "Content"; to the contrary, "Not-Content". I think the "Contents" have it. Clear the Bar.

I understand that no Tellers have been appointed for the Not-Contents, and I declare that the Contents have it.

6.31 p.m.

LORD KILMANY moved Amendment No. 9: Page 152, line 22, leave out ("Bishopbriggs").

The noble Lord said: the substance of this Amendment has been debated, and I assume that it is agreed in the same way as the other Amendment. I beg to move.

THE EARL OF DUNDEE moved Amendment No. 10: Page 152, leave out lines 33 to 35.

The noble Earl said: With this Amendment I would ask your Lordships to consider Amendment No. 15, which is on the same subject. Perhaps I ought to mention that this morning I tabled a Manuscript Amendment to page 153, to leave out lines 29 and 30, because I was advised that that would be consequential if these Amendments were accepted. On a previous Amendment I was glad to hear the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, refer to the fact that we ought to pay attention to what has happened in another place, and to be careful not to correct them too bluntly without good reason. I think that is very true. There is a very strong case indeed for this Amendment which would have the effect of making the present district of Eastwood into a district under this Bill—and for several reasons which are beyond most people's control, this case has probably not received the attention which it deserves in another place.

The honourable Member for East Renfrew, at whose request I am moving this Amendment, is in another place Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means which prevents her from speaking on behalf of her constituents. Then in Scottish Standing Committee in another place this Amendment was moved only a few minutes before the Standing Committee adjourned on the last sitting day of the week, so that my honourable friend the Member for Perth and East Perthshire in another place was obliged somewhat to curtail his remarks. When the Committee met again on the first sitting day of the following week, my honourable friend the Member for Glasgow, Hillhead, in another place, Mr. Galbraith, having composed a very powerful and most convincing speech in favour of the Amendment, found to his dismay that he had left his spectacles at home and was unable to deliver it.


If I may interrupt the noble Earl, is that not the best argu ment against writing speeches that one has ever heard?


I was about to add that since my noble friend Lord Strathclyde has been kind enough to add his name to this Amendment, he may later repair this deficiency.

The community of Eastwood has a very strong sense of its individuality in the manifesto which has been presented to both Houses and to the Government. They declare, on the historical authority of the late Sir Ludovic Mann, that they were an identifiable community in the year 3,000 B.C. and that in the first century A.D. they took a leading part in resisting Roman invasions under the Roman General Agricola, and later under the Emperor Septimius Severus. I do not know how many district councillors they had at that time—they do not say—but at this moment they are certainly a very thriving and progressive community. They have, among other things, what I believe is the finest community centre in Scotland. I mention this in particular because so many of your Lordships have stressed the need under this Bill for district councils to provide community centres, and I should like to tell you what this community centre in Eastwood consists of.

It has an open space of 40 acres of grass, and it has converted one of the Weir mansion houses into a social centre with provision for every kind of social recreation and activity. There is a theatre which seats 300 people, and a large, general purpose hall which is equally suitable for large dances, large concerts or large public meetings. There are also Turkish baths and a swimming pool of considerable size. This new centre was opened last January by my honourable friend Mr. Hector Munro, who is one of the Under-Secretaries of State for Scotland, and he is reported as having said on that occasion that this is much the best community centre in Scotland and it ought to be repeated all over Scotland, and that he wished he had it in his own constituency. The offices of the Eastwood District Council are in the centre of the area, conveniently accessible to all the councillors. They have 180 employees and some 10 ratepayers' or residents' associations, seven old people's clubs, and over 300 youth and other voluntary societies.

I submit to your Lordships that these are the kind of local government activities which it is the duty of Parliament to encourage and preserve, and not to destroy. If we are going to abandon them and say that they must be merged with something greater, then we must ask ourselves: are they going to be better, or worse? I do not think in this case there is any doubt at all about the answer.

There are many affinities with Glasgow but, as in other cases, those affinities—moving in and out, going in to do your shopping—are all relevant to functions of the regional authority and are good reasons for their being in the same region as Glasgow, but they are not relevant to the functions of a district authority. Since the district authority has now been provided with the duty of housing as well as other things, I have taken some trouble to find out whether Eastwood or Glasgow could derive any mutual benefit from combining together for the purposes of housing policy. I am informed that the whole of Eastwood is by this time either already built-up or else acquired for future building development purposes, and that there is no scope at all for new development schemes which might be decided on by a larger district authority.

The only effect of combining this area with Glasgow would be to destroy true local representation and individuality. The population of Eastwood at the present time is something like 55,000. As the average age, of the population is somewhat younger than the average age for the whole country, it is expected that in the near future they are likely to be more prolific than the average for tile whole country, and that in five years the total will probably have risen to 65,000 people. The only effect of combining them would be that their representatives on the more distant Glasgow District Council will consist of four members—that is, about one to every 13,000 people in Eastwood—whereas at present they have 24 of their own district councillors, which is one to about every 2,000, which I think is generally about right. In some areas it is a good deal less. They point out that in the Secretary of State's constituency of Nairn there is one to every 500, which is a bit below the average. The only result of doing this would be to destroy local touch between the electors and their district council representatives.

I think it a sad thing that we should wind up this very progressive and flourishing authority which has achieved so many progressive and leading performances—things which were acclaimed by a Minister of the Crown only a few months ago as an example to the whole of Scotland. We have this already in existence. Surely wise statesmanship demands that we should make the best use of what we have, and not unnecessarily substitute something else for it. We have this organisation; we have this district authority; we have this small (but sufficiently large for its purposes) democratic community which wants to carry on, which has the means to carry on and which is appealing to us to allow it to do so. I beg to move.


I put my name down to this Amendment and rise to support my noble friend Lord Dundee in moving it. I do so not because I have any personal interest in the area but because of the general principle of reasonable and proper representation of people in local government. Here, I would say very strongly to my noble friend Lord Polwarth, I am not looking back into the past. I think I am on record from the very beginning, from the very earliest stages of the Wheatley Commission, and before that, as being very strongly in favour of proper reform of local government, but of doing it in, as far as is conceivably possible, a reasonable way. In this case I think that the district of Glasgow has become quite unreasonable, and that it is of great benefit to everybody, including Glasgow itself, that these peripheral areas should, wherever it is reasonably possible (I keep using the word "reasonable"), go into the counties to which they originally belonged. When I say "counties", I am again not looking back in the past, but I think they should go so that they fit into the same type of environment as that in which they have always been. I do not want to repeat all the arguments put forward so very ably by my noble friend Lord Dundee, but I wished to speak in strong support of his Amendment.


This Amendment has attracted a somewhat different combination of proponents from the earlier ones, but of course the fact remains that the principle involved here is exactly the same as in the previous Amendments concerning the Glasgow peripheral districts. Frankly, I think it would be tedious for your Lordships if I were to redeploy the arguments in favour of the larger Glasgow district at the time we have now reached, and I will simply leave it to your Lordships to dispose of this Amendment as your Lordships think fit.


I beg to move Amendment No. 11.

Amendment moved—

Page 152, line 35, columns 2 and 3, at end insert:

("Kilpatricks… In the county of Dunbarton—the burghs of Bearsden, Clydebank, Milngavie; the district of Old Kilpatrick (except the electoral divisions of Bowling, Dunbarton).").—(Lord Hughes.)


I beg to move Amendment No. 12 standing in my name and in that of other noble Lords.

Amendment moved— Page 152, line 42, at end insert ("the burgh of Bishopbriggs").—(Lord Kilmany.)

6.47 p.m.

THE EARL OF SELKIRK moved Amendment No. 13: Page 153, line 10, leave out ("Cadzow") and insert ("Hamilton").

The noble Earl said: I beg to move that the name "Hamilton" should replace that of "Cadzow". I must declare a personal interest here because I am a Freeman of Hamilton. That is a honour which I hold very high indeed, but it has nothing whatever to do with the Amendment. There are really two reasons why I am moving this Amendment. The first is because the Government gave misleading information when they replied at the Committee stage in the other place. They said that most of the local authorities preferred the name "Cadzow" to "Hamilton". What are the facts? Practically half the local authority is Hamilton, and they to a man wanted the name "Hamilton". There are three pieces of district which have proved themselves into the new district. They collectively make three, but they are only small pieces of it. I think it is therefore fair to say that one should not be overwhelmed by considerations of local thought. There may have been a certain amount of local rivalry. I suppose Bothwell may have thought that it ought to be more important; or Blantyre, the birthplace of David Livingstone.

Cadzow is the most charming place, as anyone can see. It has everything that one place should have: it has a castle, it has a gorge, it has trees planted at the time of David I and it has some white cattle. It has only one serious disadvantage: it is not on the map. It is true that probably in some Celtic period it may have been the name of a district. Probably the "z" is a transliteration of the "y" in "Cadyow" or something like that. Your Lordships may remember the distinguished Member for Central Edinburgh named Gilzean (pronounced "Gillean") who bristled with fury when he was called "Gilzean". There is also that distinguished international footballer who used to play centre-forward for Scotland and when the B.B.C. calls him "Gilzean" it sends cold shivers down my back. It is not wholly irrelevant, for it illustrates the difficulties that some Southern gentlemen have in pronouncing the names of Scotland.

I want to put it to my noble friend Lord Polwarth that it is rather important in developing an area to have a name which is known. If you ask someone to build a factory in some place it is no good giving him a name which is not there. He may think it is somewhere in the Outer Hebrides. This name of Hamilton is thoroughly well known. I am told that the people who run the new town of Stonehouse (who are the same people as those who run East Kilbride) want to be in this district of Lanark. But that is a kenned name. They do not want to be in the district of Cadzow, which nobody has heard of; and that is so.

There is one other point. We are changing a great number of names in Scotland. Practically every county in the South of Scotland is being removed or made obscure. I think we ought to think seriously about it and when it is not absolutely necessary to make a change we ought to keep to the name that is well known. I beg to move.


May I intervene and say a word or two in favour of Cadzow? My family was in that part of the world for some 600 years. It is about 25 years since I left it. Unless people have changed very much, I do not agree with the noble Earl. The name Cadzow is very well known. It is normally pronounced "Cadzow" whereas my family pronounce it "Cadyo" and because of an old tradition I think it ought to be pronounced that way. In fact, Cadzow is an older name than Hamilton which is my family name. As I understand it, Hamilton is one of the less respectable names in Scotland. It derives, undoubtedly, from Hambledon in England. The first Hamilton came to Scotland just before Bannockburn and, according to some authorities he fought on one side and according to others he fought on the other side. I should not like to guess which side he fought on; but at any rate he made his stand with Robert Bruce after Bannockburn. Cadzow was there when the first Hamilton arrived in Scotland. From that point of view, although I would not fight about it, I think the name Cadzow for this district is quite acceptable. There are a number of people in the area who have the surname of Cadzow. I knew two or three of them. Such a thing is not altogether unknown. I do not know what local opinion would be. Hamilton is a big burgh and they might prefer the name "Hamilton"; but I would not fight about it.


Whenever there is mention of the less reputable names in Scotland I wonder what is coming next. This time it is not "Lauderdale" of the Cabal—still less the one who witnessed the storming of the Bastille, was a friend of Murat and who came into this House calling himself "Citizen Maitland" and wearing the uniform of the Jacobins. As a former Member of Parliament for Lanark, I have a certain interest to declare. One of the interests is that the pronounciation of Cadzow is by no means uniform. The noble Lord, Lord Belhaven, pronounced it differently from the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk. There is a place written in the map as Kilncadzow which is known to everybody as "Kilkaigie". The argument is a simple one. Hamilton is known, Cadzow is less known and Kilkaigie is not known at all. This is a highly reputable name, Hamilton. Therefore let one reputable name support another. I am happy to support this Amendment.


I think that the almost total unanimity that appeared on the last few Amendments has been slightly broken. The noble Earl who moved the Amendment is on his own stamping ground. I can say I know it fairly well, having done innumerable drills in Hamilton drill hall during the 12 months preceding the last war, teaching, rather surprisingly, miners and steel workers to ride horses. I have a certain degree of sympathy with this Amendment, but I must say I cannot accept that the Government gave misleading information. It may be a question of the interpretation of the information. Hamilton Town Council are much the largest authority concerned here, and my information was that while they, naturally I suppose, pressed very hard for this name, there was also a strong weight of opinion in favour of Cadzow. The majority decision at a meeting of elected representatives supported it and it was also supported by the fourth District Council of Lanark. I do not think the Government feel strongly one way or another on this Amendment. On the other hand, I do not think I am ready to accept it here and now, because we might be stirring up something of a hornets' nest in the district. I will gladly undertake to reconsider the matter and take further soundings if the noble Earl is prepared to withdraw the Amendment.


I will accept the noble Lord's offer on this Amendment. I think we must take a commonsense view about this matter. I do not feel strongly about it personally, but I think that in a developing area it is important to have a known name. It is a matter which should not be entered into lightly. In the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


Amendment No. 14A is a manuscript Amendment consequential on the Amendment just accepted by the Committee. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 153, column 3, leave out lines 29 and 30.—(The Earl of Dundee.)


I beg to move Amendment No. 15.

Amendment moved.

Page 153, line 36, at end insert—

("Eastwood… In the county of Renfrew —the First District.")

—(The Earl of Dundee.)

LORD POLWARTH moved Amendment No. 18: Page 154, line 13, column 3, at end insert ("; the parishes of Coylton, Dalrymple; part of the parish of Ayr within the district of Dalmellington.")

The noble Lord said: These Amendments have the intention of adjusting the boundary in South Ayrshire between the proposed Kyle and Carrick and Cumnock and Doon Valley districts. The Bill as introduced adopted the pattern of two district authorities for Ayrshire, as recommended by the Wheatley Council. In another place, Amendments were made in the Scottish Standing Committee providing for four districts in Ayrshire. While the Government accepted this in principle, it was indicated that we should want to consider the detailed boundaries a little further.

At the final stage in another place an Amendment was tabled similar to those proposed, and was accepted. We have now had an opportunity to look at the boundary between the two districts more fully and we feel that the community of interest in South Ayrshire which centres on the main centres of Ayr and Cumnock would be more accurately reflected by transferring the parishes of Coylton and Dalrymple in the existing Dalmellington District Council area from the Cumnock and Doon Valley District to the Kyle and Carrick District; that is from the easterly one to the most westerly one. While Coylton and Dalrymple have something in common, through the mining industry, with Cumnock their predominant connections are with Ayr to the West. This is borne out in the figures of the population; 31 per cent. of the population of the Dalmellington district as a whole, many of them from Coylton and Dalrymple, work in Ayr Burgh and district and only 4 per cent. in Cumnock Burgh and district. The adjustment would not produce a substantial change of population. It would reduce that of Cumnock and Doon Valley to about 47,000 and increase that of Kyle and Carrick to 111,000.

I understand that the majority of local authorities support these Amendments. Ayr Town Council has suggested that the boundary between these two districts should be further East than originally proposed; that is, further from the Burgh of Ayr, and that is achieved by this Amendment. Admittedly, Cumnock Town Council are, I believe, still opposed to this. Dalmellington District Council have said that they are content with the boundaries in the Bill as it stands, but they will perhaps understand the considerations which prompted the Government to suggest this change. I think that the resulting division between the two districts will be a more logical one. It gives more room round the Burgh of Ayr and reflects the community of interest and the working pattern of those in the area concerned.


I have received a letter from the town clerk of Cumnock suggesting to the Government that this is a decision to which, as the noble Lord has already said, they are not entirely agreeable; and that, although they agree that there may be some adjustment to the boundary between the two districts they consider that to take a decision now would be rather precipitous. They suggest that the matter ought to be referred to the Boundary Commission. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Polwarth, has thought of that or whether it is possible, but obviously the town council is very doubtful. The letter states: The removal of the Coylton and Dalrymple areas from Cumnock and Doon Valley District will seriously upset arrangements for representation, not only on the new district authority, but for representation on the new regional authority. I thought that in the absence of the noble Lord, Lord Ballantrae, I should draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that this is a somewhat controversial matter in the area. I would not be able to say which is the fairest way to deal with it, but they request that the decision be referred to the Boundary Commission.


I support the Government in this Amendment. For one thing, it will save me having a district boundary literally running across my front door. It is bad enough having a parish boundary, as from time to time I find Ministers of the Cloth encroaching on one another's parishes and it is embarrassing to have to explain that to them. I also support the Amendment because I think that as the boundaries were originally drawn they were going far too close to the Burgh of Ayr which is constantly expanding. I am aware that it was suggested—and it has been suggested again by the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood—that this matter should be considered by the Boundary Commission. When we start electing various representatives of various districts people want to know to whom they will belong. We should not elect representatives for one district and find maybe in seven years' time that they have to change their thinking. We should make up our minds now where the boundary should be and then people will know where they stand.


I wish to ask whether it is still suitable to call the second of these districts Cumnock and Doon Valley. I think we are removing quite a bit of Doon Valley from out of it, but I may be wrong.


I should require a little time to study the map before I could give a definite answer on the point raised by the noble Duke, the Duke of Atholl. Perhaps I could take his point and consider the matter. I could not give a quick answer on it. I would simply say that while I appreciate the natural wish of any particular area to remain in a particular place as, for example, Cumnock to which the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, referred, I think that the majority of opinion is definitely in favour of making this change. It seems to me the logical one in terms of geographical pattern, travel to work and so on. I am grateful for the support of the noble Marquess, Lord Ailsa, and I hope that the Committee will accept the Amendment.

House resumed.