Commission for Local Democracy on plans to bring power closer to the people
A third sector group has declared its support for revolutionising Scotland’s political landscape by 2020 - by devolving more powers to communities.
The Commission on Strengthening Local Democracy has published a report advocating a sweeping root and branch restructure in order to bring decision-making closer to the people.
This could include tripling the number of councils and equipping them with major tax raising powers.
The commission – which includes civil society representatives, academics, senior councillors and trade union chiefs – presented its findings following a nine month review.
Voluntary Action Scotland provided evidence, and its chief executive Calum Irving said: “The report offers a more localist world closer to people. However, what we do with any re-formed structures matters much more than how many we might have.
The voluntary sector is how people organise to deliver change and therefore has everything to gain from a world which opens up decision making
"That’s why a great deal of the findings advocate a more participative and deliberative democracy that brings people into decision making rather than just consulting them.
“The voluntary sector is how people organise to deliver change and therefore has everything to gain from a world which opens up decision making far more than we have experienced to date.”
The report also adds that Scotland would be “fairer, wealthier and healthier if local communities had control over the issues that matter to them.”
If the proposals became reality, councils would be given the freedom to raise more than 50 per cent of their income locally
The number of councils would also increase – drastically reversing a process which, over decades, has seen the number of local authorities dwindle – culminating in the 32 council reorganisation of 1996.