Ending poverty - empowering local government

Ending poverty - empowering local government"

Following the launch yesterday of his key priority of ending poverty in Scotland - coupled with strong measures for the living wage - Scottish Labour leadership candidate Richard Leonard MSP has released details of how he intends to empower Scotland's councils in order to combat poverty. 

He said: 

"My overriding mission as First Minister will be to end poverty. That mission means giving local councils the resources and powers they needs to make a difference."
 
On more powers for local councils he said:  
"More resources for our services is not just about grants from the government. It’s also about real powers. Local services have to be released from their shackles. Scotland’s local councils must also be allowed to raise additional revenue. As leader I will instigate a review into the powers of local government to raise revenue, directed towards increasing the level of resources local government can directly raise: I want to see more work to help local government raise revenue based on wealth, including land, as well as property."

He also set out policies to extend public ownership to allow councils to improve services in their area. 

 

The full text of Richard Leonard's plan to help local councils tackle poverty is below.

 

"My overriding mission as First Minister will be to end poverty. That mission means giving local councils the resources and powers they needs to make a difference. 

 
"Local government is at the coal-face of delivery in the most important day-to-day challenges we face: delivering community services that all of us depend on, providing education, maintaining and building housing and investing in and keeping our communities safe, clean and secure. These are just some of the responsibilities that local councils discharge.  
 
"Local councils can also lead the way in the fight against poverty and inequality. But the SNP has starved Scottish local government and reduced its power to carry out that role effectively. 
 
"I will lead the fight for increased central spending to local government as a cornerstone of a fresh approach for Scotland. 
 
"But we will not wait for office – we will use our power as a movement now to fight for change. I pledge now that from day one of my leadership I will campaign to get a better funding deal for our local services before the local government settlement is announced by the Scottish Government.
 
"More resources for our services is not just about grants from the government. It’s also about real powers. Local services have to be released from their shackles. Scotland’s local councils must also be allowed to raise additional revenue. As leader I will instigate a review into the powers of local government to raise revenue, directed towards increasing the level of resources local government can directly raise: I want to see more work to help local government raise revenue based on wealth, including land, as well as property.
 
"I will also be backing the campaign to drop pre-devolution debt that has seen councils pay back far too much money, affecting local services in the process, as a result of exorbitant debt charges.
 
"Councils can also lead the way in developing public ownership. Not for its own sake but because public ownership means greater accountability and planning for better services based on public need rather than market forces. In the week that Theresa May has pledged her allegiance to the unfettered free market, Scotland is crying out for real change. 
 
"Council energy companies and community renewable schemes can lead the fight against fuel poverty. Municipal bus companies can lead the fight against exorbitant fares. Municipal building services can provide far greater value for the public pound, with the savings invested elsewhere. Public social care services can reduce the pressure on social care workers and care recipients alike. And all of them can ensure that their workers have decent and fair pay and conditions at work.
 
"Under my leadership we will work with councils to develop municipal ownership in buses, social care, building works and energy. This will mean better services that help grow the economy and connect communities. 
"I will also initiate a review into health and social care integration. Currently far too many health board and health and social care partnerships are reporting overspends and funding shortfalls - which suggests there is too little funding being provided to these most important of services. 
 
"Councils must also lead by example and ensure that their workers are paid and treated properly. Councils, alongside other public authorities, must be gold-standard employers in terms of the wages and conditions they provide to their employers.  
 
"In our mission to eliminate poverty, the role of councils must be recognised much more. I will do this and work closely and collaboratively at all times with my local government councillors and the trade unions. 
 
"As part of my quest to improve local government I will make us work as Team Scottish Labour with an intention to meet monthly with Labour group leaders. 
 
"The default assumption of public policy should be that ‘local’ is the starting point. That’s currently not the assumption by government – I would make it so with a Labour government."

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  • published this page in News 2017-10-01 10:20:26 +0100

Promoted by Danielle Rowley on behalf of Richard Leonard, both at 180 Hope Street, Glasgow, G2 2UE