§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any proposals to introduce legislation to give local authorities further statutory powers to promote economic development in their areas.777W
§ Mrs. Rumbold
My right hon. Friend has no present plans to do so. The Government have, however, asked the Widdicombe inquiry, as part of its terms of reference, to clarify the limits and conditions governing local authorities' use of their discretionary spending powers, particularly under section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 and section 83 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. These powers are widely used for economic development. We shall consider the position in the light of the inquiry's eventual recommendations.