Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank

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Reform Scotland, the independent, non partisan think tank, is backing Green MSP Andy Wightman’s Bill to strengthen the position of Scottish local government.

In its submission on the European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill, to the Local Government and Communities Committee, the think tank has called for non-domestic rates and council tax powers to be handed fully to local authorities to retain, replace or revise as they see fit, in what it has called “real localism”. The submission can be read below.

Reform Scotland is delighted to support Andy Wightman’s Member’s Bill, which seeks to strengthen the position of local government in Scotland.”

“Over the 21 years of devolution, one of the biggest areas of disappointment has been local government. Devolution transferred power from Westminster to Holyrood, but it also centralised power in Edinburgh. Reinvigoration of local government is badly needed.”

“Different parts of the country are going to face significantly different economic and social challenges during the long recovery phase from Covid-19. The problems will be different, and therefore the solutions must be different.

“To enable localised solutions the Scottish Government should pass tax powers to local authorities. Business rates and council tax are local in name only – business rates are set centrally, and council tax rises within set bands are capped by central government.”

“The Scottish Government sees the logic in devolving power from Westminster to Holyrood, and it should be able to see that the logic applies in equal measure to the devolution of power from Holyrood to local authorities.”

Reform Scotland Research Director Alison Payne

Notes to editors

    1. Reform Scotland’s submission to the Committee can be read below
    2. Reform Scotland is an independent, non-party think tank that aims to set out a better way to deliver increased economic prosperity and more effective public services based on the traditional Scottish principles of limited government, diversity and personal responsibility. Further information is available at
    3. Media: Message Matters (Andy Maciver, 07855 261 244, [email protected])