HC Deb 03 March 1986 vol 93 cc38-9W
Mr. Mason

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will state the reasons for the differences in compensation payments being made to employees of the metropolitan councils on abolition, especially those between Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire; if he will give examples of redundancy payments and pensions entitlements for similar jobs in each area; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Tracey

The reasons for the differences in compensation entitlements stem from decisions taken by individual metropolitan county councils after the Government had announced their intention to abolish those councils and the timetable for the necessary legislation.

The Government stated in the White Paper (Cmnd. 9063) their intention to set nationally-applicable compensation terms, and subsequently announced on 1 March 1984 that the legislation would disallow any local compensation schemes introduced after that date. Despite this, three of the councils introduced local schemes before that date, and the others — West Midlands, South Yorkshire, and Tyne and Wear — introduced them afterwards.

In enacting section 53 of the Local Government Act 1985, Parliament duly disapplied the schemes introduced after 1 March 1984. The Act, however, preserves contractual rights to compensation terms obtained before that date, and therefore most Greater Manchester council, West Yorkshire county council and Merseyside county council staff in post at that date seem likely to have entitlements under the local schemes introduced by those councils.

The compensation terms under the local schemes are not identical, and it is not for my right hon. Friend to say what, if any, entitlements individual officers might have under those schemes. The Government's terms, which will apply nationally to all staff of the affected authorities who have no preserved contractual entitlements, or who opt to release them, are set out in the Local Government Reorganisation (Compensation) Regulations 1986 (S.I. 1986/151) laid before the House on 7 February. An explanatory memorandum giving guidance on these was placed in the Library on 11 February.

Mr. Jessel

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment in what form he proposes to give information to members of the public affected by the abolition of the Greater London council and the metropolitan county councils about the new structure of local government in those areas after 1 April.

Mr. Tracey

We have produced short factual leaflets outlining the new structure of local government in London and each of the metropolitan counties. The leaflets will be distributed to all households in the seven metropolitan areas in the next two weeks.

The leaflets, copies of which have been placed in the Library, are similar to those produced to give members of the public information about the 1974 reorganisation of local government. They describe briefly what the post-abolition structure will be, and answer some of the questions members of the public may be asking. The leaflets do not, however, attempt to provide details of the arrangements successor authorities are making for particular services. Members of the public are invited to ask their local councils for such details.