Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929

Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 (19 & 20 Geo V., C.25) reorganised local government in Scotland from 1930, introducing joint county councils, large and small burghs and district councils. The Act also abolished the Scottish poor law system with institutions passing to the local authorities.

The Act was drafted by Walter Elliot, the Conservative (Scottish Unionist) politician who became later (1936) Secretary of State for Scotland.

Abolition of parish councils

The parish councils that had been introduced by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1894 were dissolved. Their responsibilities regarding poor law passed to the county council, other powers passing to the new district councils.

Abolition of Commissioners of Supply and Education Authorities

Commissioners of Supply had been established for each county in 1662, but had lost most of their powers to the county councils formed in 1890. Their remaining powers were to form part of a standing joint committee which acted as the police authority for the county. The 1929 Act dissolved the standing committees and the commissioners ceased to exist.

The county and city education authorities that had been formed in 1919 were also abolished, with their functions and powers passing to the counties and counties of cities.

Large burghs and small burghs

A number of burghs (generally those with a population of 20,000 or more) became "large burghs". Most of the powers previously exercised by the county council in their area were transferred to the town council of the burgh.

The remaining burghs were to be known as "small burghs". In their case many of their powers now passed to the county council.

The Act did not contain a list of large and small burghs. They were eventually listed in the schedule to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1947.

United burghs

The Act united a number of adjacent burghs under a single town council (listed in Schedule 2):
*Kilrenny, Anstruther Easter and Anstruther Wester
*Elie, Liberty & Williamsburgh and Earlsferry
*Bonnyrigg and Lasswade
*Blairgowrie and Rattray

Where any of the merging towns was a royal burgh this status was to be continued in the united burgh.

Combined counties and joint county councils

For most local government purposes the counties of Kinross and Perth, and of Nairn and Moray were to be combined. The counties were to continue to exist, with individual county councils being elected, but they were to form a joint county council. The joint council was, however, permitted to delegate functions to either of the individual county councils.

Reconstituted county councils

With the redistribution of powers between counties, large burghs and small burghs the method of electing the county council was changed.

The council was to be partly directly elected and partly chosen by the town councils of large burghs. Each large burgh was to nominate one (or more depending on population) members of the town council to the county council. The rest of the county was divided into electoral divisions (consisting of landward parishes) and small burghs, each returning single members.

The reconstituted county councils were elected in November 1929

District councils

The reconstituted county councils were obliged to submit a district council scheme to the Secretary of State for Scotland by February 1, 1930, dividing the lanndward part of the county into districts.

Each district was to consist of one or more electoral divisions used for electing county councillors. The scheme specified the number of elected councillors. The county councillors elected for the division were to be "ex officio" members of the district council. The first elections of district councillors took place on April 8, 1930.

It was not required for districts to be formed in Kinross-shire and Nairnshire unless the joint county council so directed. In the event, a district council was formed for the landward part of Nairnshire, but Kinross-shire county council performed the functions of a district council.

Poor law

Another major effect of the Act was the ending of the Poor Law system, which had largely been administered by the parish councils. Their responsibilities in this area - now known as "Public Assistance" - passed to the county councils, large burghs and counties of cities.

Counties of cities

The four royal burghs that were counties of cities were largely unaffected by the Act, except that they assumed responsibility for public assistance and education.

ervices provided by the councils

Following the reorganisations of 1929 and 1930 the different tiers of Scottish local government were responsible for the following major services:‡ Outside large burghs† Where the burgh had a population of 50,000 or more, or had a separate police force in existence.

ee also

*List of local government areas in Scotland 1930 - 1975


* Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 (19 & 20 Geo.5 c.25)
* Michael Lynch, "", Pimlico 1993, pages 435 and 436.

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