Scotland needs real local democracy, not power grabs

Andy Wightman, Scottish Green Party spokesperson on Local Government and MSP candidate for the Lothian region, has today (6 March) highlighted that any changes to the structure of local authorities and health services must be driven by the aim of empowering communities, not by a desire to concentrate power away further from people.

According to the Sunday Times, SNP spring conference this week will debate public sector reform proposals that would see local authorities and health boards merged to 'improve the effectiveness of preventative health care'.

Wightman welcomed the opportunity to work with other parties to examine options for local government reform in Scotland, but stressed that the fundamental principle of genuine local democracy must be respected.

The Scottish Greens were part of COSLA's Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy. The party is set to publish proposals on local tax reform in the coming weeks.

Andy said:

“For Scottish Greens, real local democracy is a fundamental principle. We were enthusiastic participants in COSLA's Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy and we will soon be publishing our plans for giving local authorities the fiscal freedom they need to protect public services. 

"There is clearly a need for change in how we do local democracy, but it is vital that this process is driven by a real desire to empower communities and strengthen governance. The Scottish Greens are are ready to talk to any other party that is genuinely committed to these principles.

"Scotland is already the least democratic country in Europe with the weakest system of local government. Reform is long overdue."