§ 9. Mr. Adley
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to ensure that adequate consultation is taking place between the present local authorities and the new district councils into which they will merge, and to maintain control over expenditure initiated by the existing authorities.
§ The Minister for Local Government and Development (Mr. Graham Page)
Recommendations on this subject were made in paragraphs 59 and 60 of my Department's Circular 121/72 and I believe that the present local authorities are fully aware of the need to consult the new authorities before committing expenditure which the new authorities must meet. Such expenditure will be subject to existing controls and the new authorities must be allowed to consider how they can meet it.
§ Mr. Adley
I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. I do not doubt that the local authorities are aware of their responsibilities, but does my right hon. Friend agree that there is evidence, some of which I have submitted to his Department, that many local authorities are not carrying out the spirit of the provisions of the relevant section of the Local Government Act? Is he aware that in my constituency a shopping centre at present in the Mangotsfield urban district in Gloucester County Council area will be transferred shortly to the area of the new Kingswood council in the Avon County Council and that despite the fact that the urban district council has twice turned down a proposal for the shopping precinct, suddenly, a few weeks before reorganisation, Gloucester County Council has given permission? This sort of thing is going on elsewhere. Can my right hon. Friend—