§ Mr. Kirkwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) for what reasons the community councils abolished on 31 March 1997 will not re-convene until July; 
(2) what arrangements he is making for the discharge of the functions of the community councils in Scotland in the period between 31 March and July 1997; 
(3) what guidance has been given to community councils about their (i) planning functions, (ii) representation on external bodies, (iii) financial and other contractual commitments and (iv) funding for local projects during the period between 31 March and July 1997; 
(4) what notice was given to existing community councils about their period of non-existence; and what legal advice has been given about continuing duties and responsibilities of existing members while the community councils are disbanded. 
§ Mr. Kynoch
[holding answer 3 March 1997]: The operation of community council schemes is entirely the responsibility of the relevant local authority. I understand that Scottish Borders council has decided to revoke the existing community council schemes within its area on 31 March and subsequently to adopt a new scheme. It is for Scottish Borders council to justify to the people it serves the length of any period of interregnum between the dissolution of community councils under its existing schemes and the election of new community councils under its proposed new scheme. It is also for the council to consider any interim arrangements for seeking the views of the community.
I hope that Scottish Borders council will very carefully re-examine whether the length of interregnum that it proposes is really necessary.