The SNP are committed to local democracy, and to involving everyone who chooses to live or work in Scotland in how our country is run. To this end, we’ve passed laws to allow 16 and 17-year olds to vote and, more recently a bill to give the vote to citizens of all nationalities legally resident in Scotland. This applies to local council as well as Scottish Parliament elections.
We have long advocated for the use of Citizens’ Assemblies to help ensure the public is involved in decisions that matter to us all, and have run one on polarisation of political dialogue, following the EU referendum.
The outcome of the first Citizens’ Assembly has shown that involving citizens in the major changes affecting our lives is not only possible, but also delivers results.
If re-elected, we will carry out Citizens’ Assemblies annually to consider the key issues about the kind of country we want Scotland to be and also promotes local Citizens’ Assemblies that consider community issues and propose local solutions.
Specifically, we have promised to ask a Citizens’ Assembly to consider options for replacing the Council Tax as part of a look at strengthening local democracy
Local communities have been given a voice in planning and delivery of local services through the Community Empowerment Act – backed up by an annual £20 million of funding – through the Empowering Communities Programme.
If re-elected, the SNP will review this and expand on these powers and voices, as well as promising to introduce pre-emption in favour of community buy-out where title to land is transferred.