§ Mr. Macfarlane
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated cost of establishing the regional councils of sport and recreation (a) to his Department and (b) to the local authority.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
The incidental expenses of representatives of local authorities and other public bodies will be borne by those bodies. The expenses of representatives of voluntary bodies and the costs of secretarial support for the new councils—as for the existing regional sports councils—will be borne, directly or indirectly, by my Department.
The combined membership of the new councils is unlikely to be greater—and may be somewhat smaller—than that of the regional sports councils. No significant increase in costs is therefore to be expected.
§ Mr. MacGregor
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment under what powers or authority his Department is able to disband the existing regional sports councils and replace them with new regional sport and recreation councils; and whether, in view of the concern being expressed by local authorities and others about the details of the proposed new scheme, he will delay implementation of such a scheme until there has been an opportunity for a debate.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
I would refer the hon. Member to the statement I made on 14th April. My role has been to promote the establishment of new regional councils with broader functions than the existing regional sports councils, in order to improve co-ordination of sport and recreation policies at regional level. Most—if not all—of the bodies involved in the existing councils will be represented directly or indirectly on the new councils: consequently, when the latter come into being the former will lapse. The local authority associations have assured me of their full support for the new arrangements.—[Vol. 909, c. 565–6]