TIME TO BUILD A PARLIAMENT FOR REAL LOCAL DECISION-MAKING
Demand for a new commitment to local devolution is the cornerstone of Reform Scotland’s manifesto
Reform Scotland, the independent, non-party think tank, today launches its manifesto for the next Scottish Parliament, building upon eight years of research and policy development. The manifesto’s central message is this; as Holyrood gains greater powers, including further control of taxation, it should in turn devolve more power within Scotland to support improved economic growth and better public services.
The manifesto sets out 16 policies for 2016 that can each be delivered during the course of the next Scottish Parliamentary term. The focus of Reform Scotland’s work is how to deliver increased economic prosperity for all and more effective public services. The best way to achieve that is to create an environment which empowers local communities and people. That is why the cornerstone of the document is a demand that the next Scottish Parliament empowers local decision-making through a radical agenda including proposals to:
- Fully devolve council tax and business rates to local authorities
- Pilot schemes to devolve health to local authority control
- Give people greater choice over their GP surgery
- Give greater autonomy to schools to ensure they are able to make decisions necessary to meet local priorities and circumstances
- Introduce a virtual nursery voucher for parents to ensure they can access their child’s nursery entitlement in any pre-school environment that meets required standards.
Alan McFarlane, Reform Scotland’s Chairman, said:
‘Scotland needs its next parliament, the fifth since devolution, to be a Parliament for policies that will address our major challenges – improving economic performance whilst increasing the impact and effectiveness of our public services. The new Scottish Government must take the opportunity to deliver a radical agenda to devolve power within Scotland in order to achieve these goals.
‘One nettle to be grasped is for Scotland’s local councils to be given full responsibility for council tax and business rates, thereby establishing a clear link between local expenditure on services and the taxation to fund it.
‘By implementing these 16 proposals the new Parliament would be taking major steps towards transforming Scotland into a more enterprising country with better public services.’