HC Deb 29 November 1993 vol 233 cc375-6W
Mr. Vaz

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the local authorities he has visited since his appointment; and what is the total number of representations and correspondence he has received concerning the local government review.

Mr. Gummer

Since my appointment, I have visited the following local authorities:

  • Monday 14 June — Manchester city council
  • Wednesday 14 July — Liverpool city council
  • Friday 16 July — Nottinghamshire county council
  • Wednesday 8 September — Derby city council
  • Wednesday 29 September — Southend-on-Sea borough council
  • Wednesday 29 September — Thurrock borough council
  • Wednesday 13 October — London borough of Tower Hamlets
  • Friday 15 October — South Cambridgeshire district council
  • Tuesday 19 October — London borough of Newham
  • Friday 22 October — Gloucester city council
  • Monday 8 November — Kent county council
  • Gravesham borough council
  • Dartford borough council
  • Gillingham borough council
  • Thursday 11 November — Leicester city council
  • Friday 12 November — Peterborough city council

A total figure for the number of items of correspondence I have received on the Local Government Commission's reviews is not available, except at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions have taken place with the Local Government Commission concerning the possible creation of a new unitary authority straddling the Yorkshire and Lancashire border.

Mr. Baldry

The Local Government Commission has discretion, where it judges it necessary, to make a formal request to my right hon. Friend that the area of review be extended to include localities bordering on that area. The commission has not made such a request in respect of either the Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire or the Lancashire review areas.

Mrs. Angela Knight

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what decisions he has reached oil the Local Government Commission's reports on Derbyshire and on Cleveland and Durham; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gummer

I have today written to Sir John Banham, chairman of the Local Government Commission, about the commission's reports "Final Recommendations on the Future Local Government of Derbyshire" and "Final Recommendations on the Future Local Government of Cleveland and Durham".

Having considered the commission's recommendations for Derbyshire and County Durham, together with representations made to me, I am not at present satisfied that the proposals in respect of those areas meet the criteria in section 13(5) of the Local Government Act 1992. I am still considering the commission's recommendations for Cleveland.

I have therefore, under section 15(6) of the Local Government Act 1992, directed the commission to conduct further reviews of Derbyshire and County Durham, having regard to the revised policy and procedure guidance issued to it on 2 November and 22 November respectively.

As with the other reviews which I announced on 22 November, I have directed the commission to start on 13 December 1993 and to report on or before 30 December 1994. I will be discussing target dates for final reports with the commission when it has consulted local authorities in these two areas.

These two reviews were conducted in accordance with the original policy guidance which I issued to the commission in July 1992. The revised policy guidance which I issued on 2 November clarified the Government's views on a number of issues, including unitary authorities and the importance of local consensus. Representations have been made to me by local authorities in Derbyshire and Durham that they should be given the opportunity to make fresh proposals on the basis of the new guidance. I consider that the local authorities and people of these areas ought to be given that chance.

A copy of my letter to Sir John Banham has been placed in the Library.

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