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NEW UNITARIES WILL TAKE ON OLD LIABILITIES

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Complaints against councils, and associated liabilities, will be transferred to the new unitary authorities, Scotti...
Complaints against councils, and associated liabilities, will be transferred to the new unitary authorities, Scottish Local Government Minister Allan Stewart said this week.

In answer to a letter from Labour MP Tam Dalyell, Mr Stewart confirmed the Commissioner for Local Administration would be able to investigate complaints relating to maladministration which occurred prior to reorganisation. 'It would, clearly, be inappropriate to consider wiping the slate clean', he said.

'Many services will be being carried out by the same staff - and in some cases the same authority - after reorganisation and it would be inequitable for individuals to be denied the right of redress'.

An order will be made similar to the Local Authorities Etc (Miscellaneous Provision) (Scotland) Order 1975 which transferred rights, liabilities and obligations under the previous reorganisation.

Robert Peggie, commissioner for local administration in Scotland, welcomed the news. He had been concerned that 'transitional arrangements as far as my office is concerned might be bottom of the government's priorities'.

A spokesman for the DoE said the issue of the transfer of assets and liabilities in England would be dealt with in a separate consultation paper.

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