Published: 07/06/2018 07:00 - Updated: 01/06/2018 12:13

'New chance to decide' where the money goes

Written byIain Ramage

 

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Angela Constance (centre) during an Inverness visit last year.

HIGHLANDERS are being urged to join a debate aimed at devolving decision-making to communities.

The "democracy matters" initiative aims to identify new legal rights for communities, placing them at the heart of decisions involving public money.

A shortlist of questions could help shape the future of different parts of the region.

Community groups can apply for grants of up to £300 to host events relating to the project.

Communities Secretary Angela Constance said: "The start of the conversation is an important moment for community decision-making.

"More decisions about public services should be taken locally and communities should be able to influence these. We want to hear from people about issues in their neighbourhood."

Alison Evison, president of the local authorities’ body Cosla said: "Across the country, it’s widely recognised that Scotland needs local solutions to the opportunities and challenges it faces.

"The conversation is a vital contribution to the change that is needed across all spheres of government to make Scotland a more democratic place, and to ensure that Scotland’s public services are built around the communities they serve."

Scottish Community Alliance director Angus Hardie said: "As things stand, communities often find that the really important issues that affect them the most are decided without their involvement and in faraway places.

"But if democracy is working well, most of those decisions would be taken much closer to these communities and often by local people themselves. This is a rare opportunity for communities everywhere to become involved and to re-imagine how democracy can be made to work for everyone."

There are full details online at https://beta.gov.scot/policies/improving-public-services/local-governance-review

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