17 April, 2017 - 12:39

Protecting local services is a priority for the Scottish Green Party. These are increasingly coming under threat as a result of council cuts and the economic decisions of national governments and international organisations, whose decisions are not based on local interest. Scott Rutherford, local election candidate for Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy

Fife Greens have pledged to support local services, and to increase the involvement of local residents in deciding on budget priorities for their areas. The last year has seen a number of key services being withdrawn, including the closure of the library and Bank of Scotland in Kinghorn, where there is now no longer any bank at all. The impact of these closures has been exacerbated by reductions in bus services, making it harder for residents without cars to access these services in Kirkcaldy.

These facilities offer a lifeline to many – whilst it is understandable that banks are reducing the number of branches as more people choose to use internet banking, a small but significant proportion of the population are unable to use the internet, or do not trust its security when it comes to their finances. In addition, this decision overlooks the importance of social interaction that can be offered in local branches – which can play a key role in increasing the quality of life of those who are lonely and isolated.

“Protecting local services is a priority for the Scottish Green Party,” says Scott Rutherford, Green candidate for Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy. “These are increasingly coming under threat as a result of council cuts and the economic decisions of national governments and international organisations, whose decisions are not based on local interest.

“Nonetheless, Burntisland and Kinghorn still boast a wide range of local businesses, and we are keen to protect these. Any Green councillors elected in Fife would work hard to support local businesses and organisations, to improve the provision of key services by those with greatest investment in the local community – the community itself. We will also fight to introduce participatory budgeting, where residents take the lead in deciding budget priorities for their local area – a practice introduced in Leith in Edinburgh as a result of local Green councillors. We would love to see this introduced in Fife. Democracy shouldn’t be confined to polling day; we plan to put power back in peoples’ hands through revamped community councils with more power over decision making and local residents having a say in how their communities grow and change.”

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