Wightman to propose fiscal framework for local government

Thursday December 8th 2016

Andy Wightman Green MSP

Green MSP Andy Wightman will deliver the annual Stephen Maxwell Memorial Lecture tonight where he will discuss “how to renew, refresh and revitalise” democracy and the redistribution of “economic and political power”.

Previous speakers have included former First Minister Alex Salmond and SCVO chief executive Martin Sime. Wightman will become the first Green to deliver the lecture.

Andy will use his speech at the Royal Society of Edinburgh to outline a number proposals to enhance democracy in Scotland.

“My own political awakening took place as a student at Aberdeen University in the 1980s where I subscribed to the political magazine, Radical Scotland that provided a varied diet of left-wing politics, Scottish culture and political theory to a young and inquiring mind. That’s where I first discovered the writings of Stephen Maxwell.

“Today, there is an ongoing debate about Scotland’s constitutional future – a debate that Stephen was engaged in for most of his life. However, there must also be a richer, more nuanced and more fundamental debate about governance, local democracy, power and equality.

“My first suggestion is the establishment of a co-operative that will engage a network of trainers to deliver a series of modules and courses in creative activism, radical democracy, legislative expertise and para-parliamentary activity to communities, NGOs and others.

“My second suggestion is to create a framework of democratic engagement as close to the citizen as possible with real economic, fiscal and political power exercised at locality level. Again, Stephen had much to say on this throughout his life and this remains substantial unfinished business.

“Thirdly, we must deepen economic democracy – for example by revitalising the mutual, co-operative and social enterprise sector – a sector that has and continues to deliver remarkable results but which remains still in the shadows. And finally, we also need a fiscal framework to govern the financial relations between Holyrood and local government and to provide predictability and clarity around fiscal transfers and powers and to extend transparency in all areas of public life.”

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