12 Sep 2012
A bill aimed at increasing power for communities was today debated in the Scottish Parliament.
The Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill consultation seeks to “strengthen opportunities for communities”.
However, while many of the measures have been supported, it was highlighted that in practice the SNP’s tendency is to centralise decision making which in turn stifles empowerment.
Scottish Conservative local government spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell MSP said:
“The SNP’s record of centralisation and its propensity to overturn decisions made locally on issues such as windfarms and phone masts demonstrates that, in practice, the Scottish Government’s decision-making has ignored rather than empowered local communities.
“Nor is empowering legislation in itself a guarantee that the objective of community empowerment will be achieved.
“The SNP must ensure adequate funding and support for the local volunteers and groups who drive community initiatives, and whose involvement means these initiatives have the greatest chance of succeeding and enduring.
“Nonetheless, there is much to be welcomed in the bill consultation, in particular the review of how best to manage Common Good Assets which are often used, despite the opposition from local communities, for purposes other than intended when originally gifted.”