§ Mr. Norman Hogg
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent advice he has given to new town development corporations on privatisation; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Lang
The White Paper "The Scottish New Towns: The Way Ahead" published on 11 July last year, stated the Government's view that a number of the new town development corporations' functions were suitable for privatisation. The Government consider that the privatisation of these functions is not only likely to ensure the continuity of service necessary to enable the development corporations to complete their remaining tasks, but offers the best prospect of safeguarding employment and opening up wider job opportunities for corporation employees.
Since the publication of the White Paper my officials have had extensive discussions with senior management of the five development corporations on the different options for the privatisation of the development corporations' services and functions, the appropriate methods of privatisation and other associated issues.
My right hon. and learned Friend met the chairmen and chief executives of the Scottish new towns on 1 December to discuss privatisation among other issues affecting the new towns. I am encouraged by the progress being made by the corporations in identifying privatisation options and in assisting their employees to explore these possibilities.