Scots are to be given the chance to mould the future of the country, and examine how challenges facing Scotland should be overcome
Scottish charities have welcomed plans to give ordinary Scots the chance to mould the future of the country.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed plans for a Scottish Citizens’ Assembly to be established, as she set out proposals for another Independence vote.
The move will see a group of community representatives to come together to look at what type of country should be built, how challenges such as Brexit can be best overcome and what should happen to ensure people can make informed choices about the future of Scotland.
The plans have been welcomed by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), which called for a Citizens’ Assembly to be formed at the end of last year in a bid to give people a say on the Brexit stalemate.
Chief executive of SCVO Anna Fowlie said: “The First Minister’s commitment to establish a Citizens’ Assembly to forge a way forward on Brexit is a welcome one – and mirrors views SCVO set out last year. Faced with another season of Westminster gamesmanship or a serious discussion about how to take the country forward, the choice is clear. People must be given a chance to shape their own future.
“Citizens’ Assemblies work – and evidence shows they work well. The Scottish Parliament, itself, was born of a Constitutional Convention which drew on an array of voices to help shape decisions in the national interest.
“SCVO looks forward to playing its part in designing and contributing to the new Citizens’ Assembly – ensuring communities, individuals and organisations will have a proper opportunity to constructively voice their opinions on an issue parliament currently seems unable to handle.”
Speaking to MSPs, Sturgeon said the idea had been inspired by the Citizens’ Assembly set up in Ireland in 2016. Dublin created a group of 99 citizens, randomly selected to be broadly representative of the Irish electorate, to deliberate on a number of issues, including gay marriage, and abortion.
She said: “I have been struck recently by the Irish example of a Citizens’ Assembly to help find consensus on issues where people have sharply divided opinions.
“Of course, the circumstances here are different, as are the issues under consideration. But the principle is a sound one and I believe we should make use of it.”
Further information on the format of the assembly is likely to be detailed by the end of the spring.