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Call for direct vote on mayors and provost – Sunday Herald

James Hamilton
Sunday Herald, 29.6.08

Residents of Scotland\’s main cities should be able to vote for their own provosts or mayors, according to a new report published tomorrow.

This is one of the radical proposals advanced by independent think tank Reform Scotland aimed at rejuvenating local government in Scotland.

The report, Local Power, says one way of making local government more relevant, particularly in Scotland\’s four main cities, is to have directly elected provosts or mayors.

"The advantage of having an elected provost or mayor with clear responsibility for local services is that it provides a figurehead and therefore stregthens accountability," it says.

"If combined with greater powers for local government generally, a directly elected provost or mayor woudl also be in a position to provide strong and effective leadership."

The report also says an elected provost or Mayor could provide a focus for efforts to drive forward economci development in our cities.

It calls for teh Scottish government to organise referendums in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh to see whether local residents want their own directly elected leaders.

Reform Scotland also recommends that key powers should eb devolved down from councils to local communities.

Ben Thomson, chairman of Reform Scotland, said: "We need to adopt this decentralising approach as a matter of urgency."