§ Mr. Frank Cook
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Redcar of 19 May,Official Report, column 533–34, how many representations he has received for, and how many against, the need for shadow elections to be held before the unitary authorities coming into existence; and if he will place copies of such representations in the Library.
§ Mr. Curry
My officials wrote to the four districts and the county council in Cleveland on 25 February, informing them that, because of the judicial review case brought by the county council, it would be impossible for us to lay an order providing, inter alia, for elections to be held in May this year. We therefore sought the views of the majority and minority groups on the relevant local authorities on three options:
- (a) elections later in 1994, with a start-up date for the unitary authorities in 1995;
- (b) start-up in April 1995, with elections in May 1995;
- (c) elections in May 1995, with the unitary authorities not being established until April 1996.
Option (a) was preferred by the Labour and Liberal Democrat groups on Middlesbrough borough council and the Liberal Democrat groups on Langbaurgh-on-Tees and Stockton-on-Tees borough councils. Option (b) was the first choice for all three groups on Hartlepool borough council, for the Labour and Conservative groups on both Langbaurgh-on-Tees and Stockton-on2Tees borough councils and for the Conservative group on Middlesbrough borough council. Option (c) was the preference for all three groups on Cleveland county council. The county council was supported in this view by the Association of County Councils.
Representations were received in favour of option (a) from the National Association of Local Councils and in favour of a shadow period of about 11 months between the elections to, and implementation of, the new unitary authorities from Unison.
I have placed copies of all these representations in the Library.