A leading local Councillor, Paul Johnston, called on Aberdeenshire Council’s powerful Policy & Resources committee ask the Scottish Parliament to give more responsibility and support to Aberdeenshire’s Community Councils. Aberdeenshire was responding to the New Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill consultation by the Parliament.
“Across rural Scotland, Community Councils play a key part in both representing their communities to government but also can take a leading role in generating community activity and developing community capacity in our towns and villages”
“I hope that the new Community Empowerment Bill would seek to give Community Councils, greater powers where they have the capacity to play their part. Local authorities should therefore ensure Community Councils receive the support and capacity building to improve how they communicate, operate and enable them to fulfill a bigger role if they wish.”
“We may be discussing constitutional change for Scotland, but we also need to focus on allowing communities to empower themselves. Community councils are the most local level of representation. They need support and respect to fulfill their role. The Community Empowerment Bill presents an opportunity to strengthen their role, encourage elections, generate activity and community leadership.”
Councillor Johnston, who leads the Aberdeenshire Council Democratic Independent and Green group (DIG) said that it was important that people in discussing who has power, that they should not forget how local decision making needs to be made more local and effective.
” The Scottish Green Party have, to their great credit, been talking about more power to communities in this way. Making decisions locally is a key theme for them. The new legislation needs to more robust if we are to make our communities truly empowered and self sustaining”