§ Mr. Jacques Arnold
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress is being made to take forward his proposals for change initiative for the local government pension scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Sir Paul Beresford
Earlier in the year, we consulted widely on our proposals for change initiative for the local government pension scheme—LGPS—in England and Wales. There was wide support for our consultation proposals, which we have decided to adopt.
The LGPS will remain a public service pension scheme prescribed in regulations. The scheme's provisions will be streamlined and local authorities will be able to manage more of the scheme for themselves. We intend early in 1997–98 to make and lay before the House regulations giving effect to these changes. Our aim will be to provide
Largest Smallest District Ward Population Ward Population Greater Manchester Bolton Deane-cum-Heaton 13,082 Central 7,608 Bury Ramsbottom 11,028 Unsworth 7,667 Manchester (City) Longsight 11,876 Hulme 5,468 Oldham Saddleworth East 9,948 St. James 5,742 Rochdale Norden and Bamford 9,400 Middleton West 5,277 Salford Walkden South 11,390 Ordsall 5,473 Stockport East Bramhall 12,768 Brinnington 7,692 Tameside Audenshaw 10,140 Ashton St. Peters 7,688 Trafford Mersey St. Mary's 9,564 Park 6,025 Wigan Winstanley 11,863 Norley 7,541 Merseyside Knowsley Roby 6,719 Cantril Farm 3,984 Liverpool Warbreck 14,223 Everton 4,544 St. Helens Binge and Seneley Green 10,570 Marshalls Cross 5,959 Sefton Park 11,618 Netherton 7,543 Wirral Clatterbridge 13,974 Bidston 8,446 South Yorkshire Barnsley Darton 10,400 Wombwell North 5,173 Doncaster Armthorpe 13,233 Intake 8,396 Rotherham Bramley, Ravenfield and Wickersley 13,617 Central 6,289 Sheffield Mosborough 25,069 Manor 9,134 Tyne and Wear Gateshead Wickham South 8,855 Bensham 5,106 Newcastle upon Tyne Dene 10,759 Scotswood 5,414 North Tyneside Weetslade 7,842 Longbenton 5,892 South Tyneside Cleadon and East Boldon 7,387 Simon Side 4,772 Sunderland Washington South 14,171 South wick 7,379 West Midlands Birmingham Sutton Four Oaks 24,484 Kingsbury 13,223 Coventry Woodlands 14,356 Westwood 11,108
easy-to-read regulations in plain English to assist administering authorities and employers in the operation of the scheme and, in particular, to help scheme members to understand better the benefits available to them. We shall be consulting the local authority associations and other interested parties on drafts of the regulations, which we intend to bring into force on 1 April 1998. This will allow adequate time for all the necessary administrative and other changes to be put in place and ensure a smooth implementation of the new scheme provisions.
I believe these measures will be welcomed by local government employers and employees alike and will provide a satisfactory and secure long-term basis for the LGPS.