Wed 30 Nov, 2016

Creeping centralisation by successive governments has impoverished and weakened local democracy and left local authorities with little flexibility and choice in responding to local needs. Andy Wightman MSP

Scottish Green MSPs will today (30 Nov) lead two Holyrood debates on issues key to the forthcoming council elections.

Education spokesperson Ross Greer MSP will lead a debate on the need to reverse cuts to Additional Support Needs in schools, while Local Government spokesperson Andy Wightman MSP will lead a debate on the need to strengthen local democracy and end 50 years of centralisation of public services.

Ross Greer MSP said:

"The First Minister has said education is her number one priority, so today's debate on Additional Support Needs is a real test for her Government. Funding cuts to this area are harming the opportunities for children and young people who need support, such as those with autism, hearing or visual impairment, or dyslexia. It's simply shocking that the number of ASN teachers has fallen 13 per cent in five years. 

"Councils, who are responsible for school budgets, have been unfairly squeezed by the Scottish Government, and ASN has taken the hit. As we approach local government elections in five months' time we need a clear sign from the Scottish Government that it will improve funding for local authorities to enable them to repair the damage that has been done. We cannot have, as experts warned this week, a lost generation of children who didn't get the support they need."

Andy Wightman MSP said:

"Creeping centralisation by successive governments has impoverished and weakened local democracy and left local authorities with little flexibility and choice in responding to local needs. The Scottish Parliament needs to properly debate the future of local democracy and agree that the situation as it stands is unacceptable.

"There is broad consensus across the parties that local democracy needs revived in Scotland. Today's debate is an opportunity for government and opposition parties to prove that they are serious about devolving real power from Holyrood to local level.

"All parties took part in the Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy, which found that fifty years of centralisation has not tackled the inequality in our society. By endorsing the Commission's findings, Parliament can send a signal that it intends to give power to the people and strengthen and deepen local democracy."

 

Ross Greer's debate motion

Andy Wightman's debate motion

Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy report

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