The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) is calling on all political parties to acknowledge the rightful role of local government in their manifestos ahead of this year’s Scottish Parliament elections.
The organisation, which represents all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, hopes parties will reference its ‘Blueprint for Local Government’ in their manifestos and make a commitment to its aspirations.
Released last year, the blueprint includes proposals for ‘an empowered local government with powers to raise and set taxes and to make decisions based on the priorities and needs of local people’, as well as ‘a targeted approach to sectors of the economy which are crucial to achieving our long-term goals of achieving a net zero carbon and inclusive economy’.
Commenting today, COSLA President, Councillor Alison Evison said: “This last year has been like no other, the forthcoming elections to the Scottish Parliament will be like no other and local government is the sphere of government at the heart of our communities like no other.
“The COSLA Blueprint provides a narrative around the kind of country we want and about the changes that could make a real difference to communities across the country. The election this year offers the chance to make this a reality.
“The value of local government can be seen in our response to Covid-19, where councils have taken decisive action to support communities, people and businesses.
“For too long now, local government has been given a poor diet and that is why we developed the Local Government Blueprint, which is our menu for change that we want to see.
“The new parliament provides the opportunity for us to reiterate our value. For too long, Scottish local government has not had its rightful place at the top table.
“Our response during the pandemic has been remarkable, our communities have appreciated what we have done on their behalf and realise that only local government comprises all of the various ingredients that can truly deliver for our communities.
“Therefore, we call on all parties to make a commitment to the COSLA Local Government Blueprint in their forthcoming manifestos.”
The Scottish Parliament elections will take place on Thursday 6 May and will see 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) elected.