Calls for community-led democracy are growing as a new poll finds three quarters of Scots want local decision control of post-Covid recovery, according to the Electoral Reform Society.

Over three quarters (76%) of people think local communities should have at least some say in the decision about how Scotland re-builds from the Covid-19 pandemic - according to new polling by Savanta ComRes.

Fewer than one in 10 (8%) of respondents think that the recovery should be directed entirely from the national government with no direction from local communities, while one in six (16%) think the recovery should be directed mostly or entirely by local communities.

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The Our Democracy coalition, which is calling for new powers for local communities to set up citizens’ assemblies to hold their councils to account - claims there is growing frustration at the "centralised nature" of Scottish politics, highlighted in the new poll.

The same poll found that 81% of people think that citizens’ assemblies could be effective in deciding on local community priorities with a majority (54%) believing they would be ‘somewhat’ or ‘much more’ effective than local councils.

The demand for local decision making is matched by people’s willingness to get involved in issues that matter to them and their local communities.

Over four in ten respondents (44%) said they would be willing to give up their free time to help their local council make decisions on issues that affect their community.

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Nine in 10 of those who would be willing to get involved, said they’d be willing to give up two or more days per month to help their local council make decisions on local services. Over half (58%) would be willing to help out for three or more days and 43% of people would be willing to give up four or more days per month. 

Willie Sullivan, Director of ERS Scotland, said: "This polling backs up what we thought is happening in places in Scotland.

"Our communities have the confidence and commitment to be fully involved in rebuilding coming out of the pandemic.

"Communities coming together to make decisions for themselves not only makes better decisions, but these very acts strengthen the bonds of care and support.

"Then people feel that they ‘can do’ and that they have the power ‘to do’. This is ‘strength training’ for Scotland’s democratic muscle.  Strong supportive democratic communities are the only foundation on which to rebuild Scotland – A future built by us and for us.”

Savanta ComRes interviewed 1,009 Scottish adults online from 5 to 10 March 2021.