Greens: community bodies should gain financial freedoms

Green MSPs have suggested that community bodies could be given control over taxes such as parking and allotment charges, arguing that empowerment means the ability both to raise and spend funds to respond to local priorities.

Speaking in a debate on Government plans for a Community Empowerment Bill, Alison Johnstone MSP laid out Green suggestions for the new legislation, including:

– increased support for councils to set up local energy companies to take direct advantage of renewable energy opportunities on council land and buildings.

– the creation of democratically-controlled Common Good Trusts to manage common good funds

Alison Johnstone, Lothian MSP said:

“Community empowerment is not just about handing out pots of money to spend;  we must also give financial freedom to community bodies so that local people will see directly where their money is spent.

“I support the ambitions of this Bill but we need a more coherent plan to decentralise power from Holyrood to councils and further to communities of all kinds. As Scotland prepares for a major decision on its future now is the perfect time to refresh our local democracy as well.”