Our Scottish Future is to set out fresh ideas on how to strengthen local government and local communities in Scotland – and is calling for evidence today to support its recommendations.
The think-tank will publish a new report later this year on how to push power out of Holyrood towards Scotland’s communities, towns and cities, as part of its campaign to support greater devolution to and within Scotland.
It is today calling on experts and interested parties to submit their views as part of a consultation prior to publication.
It follows growing warnings from all political parties that a series of policy measures – including the creation of a national police force, a national care service, and the ring-fencing of council spending – has seen Scotland become one of the most centralised nations in Europe.
At a major conference last month on the Glasgow economic region, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Centre for Cities founder Lord Sainsbury and the CBI all backed greater clout for Scotland’s largest economic region.
Mr Brown has backed the creation of directly elected provosts in each of Scotland’s major city regions, while Lord Sainsbury said he supported the devolution of further education to councils.
Our Scottish Future’s Scotland Rewired project will consider the specific powers that could be devolved within Scotland, how to strengthen the financial autonomy of local government, and how Scotland’s citizens and communities can be more involved in shaping the decisions that affect their lives.
The project will be led by Scott Dickson, a researcher specialising in devolution and constitutional reform, who recently co-wrote the Commission on the UK’s Future report for the Labour party.
Our Scottish Future campaign director Eddie Barnes said:
“From the candidates to become the next SNP leader to leading experts on economic growth, a consensus is emerging that Scotland’s communities, towns and cities are underpowered and overlooked. It is time to rewire Scotland, push power out of Edinburgh, and hand it back to where it belongs – in the hands of people.”
“Our Scottish Future wants to improve our system of devolution within the UK. This important new piece of work will set out concrete steps for all our political parties on how to decentralise our nation, and ensure the right powers are in the right places.”
“We want to hear from all those with an interest in this vital area.”
Please submit your responses by 30th April.
- What powers should be devolved from the Scottish Government to Local Authority or City Region level, for example in the areas of economic development, environmental planning, and tertiary education
- What powers would best be exercised through cooperation at a regional level?
- How can the profile of locally elected politicians be increased? Should we consider directly elected mayors for Scotland?
- How can local authorities be given greater financial autonomy and certainty?
- Should there be a move towards greater fiscal devolution within Scotland, and how would this work in practice?
- How can local government and communities be given a more meaningful role in shaping the delivery of public services, such as health and social care?
- How can local democracy in Scotland be strengthened? Could technology or deliberative and participatory exercises play a bigger role in this regard?
- How could the role of community councils be strengthened?
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