Edinburgh Evening News, 30.6.08
PEOPLE living in Scotland’s major cities should have the chance to vote for directly-elected provosts, a think-tank said today.
Reform Scotland today published a report, described by its chairman Ben Thomson as a “recipe for the revival of local democracy in Scotland”.
It calls for the Scottish Government to organise referendums in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Dundee in a bid to discover if residents there want to have their own directly-elected leaders.
Reform Scotland believes having mayors or provosts who are voted into office by locals could prove to be “a popular and effective form of local government”.
The report argues: “The advantage of having an elected provost or mayor with clear responsibility for local services is that it provides a figurehead and therefore strengthens accountability.
“If combined with greater powers for local government generally, a directly-elected provost or mayor would also be in a position to provide strong and effective leadership.
“For example, in New York the elected mayor was responsible for leading that city’s drive to reduce crime.
“Equally, an elected provost or mayor could provide a focus for efforts to drive forward economic development in our cities.”