Glasgow Labour MSP Anne McTaggart has welcomed the publication of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee (LGRC) ‘Flexibility and Autonomy in Local Government’ Report, and backed its finding that devolution of powers must not start and finish at the national level.
Ms McTaggart, who is a member of the LGRC, was speaking in a Scottish Parliament debate on the report on Thursday 11th December.
The report was published following the publication of the Council of Europe report on local and regional democracy in the UK which found that whilst overall the UK was in compliance with its Charter obligations, some concerns did exist. It also took into consideration the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) initiative which resulted in the establishment of a Commission of Strengthening Local Democracy.
The report cited the COSLA statement that “Power should lie at the most appropriate level. Sometimes it is appropriate for it to be at community level; sometimes at local authority level; and sometimes at national level.”
In seeking to follow that suggestion, the Committee explored five strands, each of which represented an important area that required a determination about where power should lie. In each case, the Committees desire was to move power as close to the community as appropriate and to give local authorities the power to do so.
Ms McTaggart said: “I was delighted to be able to take part in this debate. I am happy to see the report published and I offer my support for the results, particularly in the areas of public engagement and interaction with local government, and local authority and community government funding.
We must recognize that the future goal of the Scottish Parliament should be to move more power to the local authorities, but, this should not be an impediment to any community. This is a local issue, and we must trust local authorities to devolve powers to the lowest appropriate level.”
You can read the LGRC ‘Flexibility and Autonomy in Local Government’ Report here.
You can read COSLA’s ‘Commission of Strengthening Local Democracy’ here.
You can read Ms McTaggart’s speech here.