HL Deb 13 November 1998 vol 594 c121WA
Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which organisations and public authorities have made representations concerning the implementation of the Scottish Local Boundary Commission's proposals for new ward boundaries; and [HL3585]

How many representations they have received concerning the Scottish Local Government Boundary Commission's proposals for new ward boundaries; how many of these support implementation ahead of the 1999 local government elections; and what view the Government take. [HL3586]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel)

The Secretary of State has received about 400 representations on the various reports from the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland. Most of these, however, concern the substance of the proposals themselves rather than the timing of the review. We have had correspondence with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and with the Association of Electoral Administrators about the question of completing the review in time for it to take effect for the 1999 local elections.

The Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 contains provisions requiring the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland to review the ward boundaries as soon as practicable after 1 April 1996; and it also requires the Secretary of State to make orders giving effect to the Commission's recommendations, either with or without modifications. The intention from the outset has been to complete the review before the 1999 local elections. The Government are aware that the recommendations for some areas have been controversial. However, we take the view that, at this stage, the priority must be to complete the review according to the original timetable, so as to allow the administrative arrangements for the 1999 local elections, which coincide with the first election of the Scottish Parliament, to be completed in good time.