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Greens: Scottish councils should be broken into smaller authorities

Scotland's councils should be broken down into smaller authorities which have greater powers over their own finance, the Greens have suggested.

Party co-convener Patrick Harvie said the current set-up, with 32 local authorities, was both "unfair and unsustainable".

He added that the Scottish Green proposals addressed a "clear need for change" in local government.

The Greens are proposing councils should be broken down into smaller "municipalities", each containing about 20,000 people.

These would be able to raise at least half of their own revenue under the proposals, instead of the current 20%.

Issues such as health, transport, economic development and colleges would be co-ordinated across larger regional areas.

The Greens also want to see the status of local government enshrined in a written constitution for the first time.

The party, which has councillors in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeenshire, Midlothian and Stirling, unveiled its plans at an event in Nairn in the Highlands.

Mr Harvie, also a Green MSP, said: "As Scotland debates whether powers should shift from London to Edinburgh, we should also consider how we shift control from Edinburgh to local communities. The current system is unfair and unsustainable.

"Our ideas address the clear need for change but in a measured way that is flexible and involves people rather than imposes from the centre."

Green vice-convener Martha Wardrop, one of Glasgow's five Green councillors, stated: "We are determined to push the issue of local democracy up the agenda and we welcome contributions from others interested in bringing power closer to the people."

Land rights campaigner Andy Wightman backed their proposals, saying: "Everywhere should have a local democratic body to take decisions on local matters. This is what our friends across the rest of Europe take for granted.

"Scotland could have regional bodies focusing on strategic functions such as transport and economic development, while communities could have meaningful democratic institutions instead of councils like Highland trying to cover an area the size of Belgium."

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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