For nearly as long as I can remember there has been jealousy between various kinds of local authorities with reference to many of their respective duties and powers —and not least in the matter of the enforcement of the Food and Drugs Act. The publication of the 1951 Census returns now adds to the number of boroughs and urban districts with a population of 40,000. These, unless the County Council concerned satisfies the Minister of Health that no change should be made, will become Food and Drugs Authorities by virtue of S. 64 of the Act of 1938. The Middlesex County Council in 1939 did satisfy the Minister that it should remain the Authority throughout the County, although many of the boroughs and urban districts then had populations greatly exceeding 40,000. At its meeting in July, 1951, the Ealing Corporation, with a population in the new Census return exceeding 187,000, decided to invite the Minister to make Ealing the Food and Drugs Authority instead of the County Council; and doubtless similar requests will be made elsewhere. By a coincidence, on the same day as that of the Ealing meeting, the House of Commons was debating the general question of the drastic revision of the whole structure of local government. The Minister of Local Government and Planning made it quite plain that the present Government, with its very narrow majority, will not countenance any important changes unless the associations of local authorities, which have for many months been conferring, reach a substantial measure of agreement; and in the course of the debate a well‐informed back bencher stated that good progress in that direction has already been made between three of the four associations. As I was the spokesman of the County Councils Association, on. the question of the allocation of Food and Drugs duties, before the Royal Commission on Local Government in 1925, and also before the Joint Committee of Lords and Commons on the Food and Drugs Bill of 1938, it will not surprise readers of the British Food Journal that I find the present situation interesting.
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