Scottish Greens are calling on the SNP leadership to explain whether they back the views of MSP Joan McAlpine who today said those who support devolution of local powers want to "bring down our parliament."

Ms McAlpine says those who seek greater control at local level want to "strengthen their own tattered power base" and "channel money back to their cronies."

Scottish Greens have long campaigned for greater local democracy and last year published a detailed package of research and proposals by governance writer Andy Wightman.

The party, which has councillors in Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Midlothian and Stirling, believes giving local government the power to raise the majority of its funding using a variety of taxes such as land value tax would emulate the stronger democracy other European countries take for granted and address the low turnout in local elections.

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian and local government spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:

"As we prepare for long-overdue cross-party talks on reform of local taxation I am surprised to see these comments. Of course local communities have been bearing the brunt of the SNP's centralising tendencies for some time. We've seen the loss of local fire, police and court services along with a council tax freeze that benefits the wealthiest the most and is forcing local authorities to start cutting frontline services.

"The SNP need to show confidence in our communities. The current system of local taxation is unfair and unsustainable. Scottish Greens will continue to put forward constructive suggestions to improve it."


Renewing Local Democracy in Scotland (Scottish Greens)

Joan McAlpine: Local councils do have the power.. they just don't use it (Daily Record)