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Size Matters by Lesley Riddoch and Paddy Bort

"The process of centralisation of governance has gone further in Scotland than in other countries. Highland Council, to take the most striking example, covers an area the size of Belgium with a population the size of Belfast. Councillors need to drive hundreds of thousands of miles a year to connect with fellow councillors and citizens in their council area. Despite such herculean efforts, many remote communities feel neglected and disenfranchised. That is “damaging democracy and economic development in Scotland,” writes Rob Gibson MSP in the introduction to ‘Small Works’. This consultation document proposes a major shake-up of the Highland Council, and Gibson has made the task his “personal priority” for this parliamentary session. “We have a situation in my constituency, where councillors can decide planning applications for projects hundreds of miles away and where spending decisions are made by officials with little or no knowledge of the places they are affecting. Ordinary folk in the Far North feel disconnected from their council, and many businesses and voluntary groups feel frustrated by the lack of local involvement in Council matters.”

To read the rest of the article in Scottish Left Review – click here.

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