Local authorities quizzed over boundary changes

Ronnie Hinds is chairing the Commission. Picture: Contributed

Ronnie Hinds is chairing the Commission. Picture: Contributed

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LOCAL authorities are being consulted about the future shape of Scotland’s council wards.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland has already put forward proposals that would reduce the number of councillors the country has by six.

A two month-long consultation period with all 32 local authorities is now under way.

When this completes, the Commission will begin another consultation, this time seeking the views of members of the public about the planned changes.

Commission chair Ronnie Hinds said the changes, which should come into effect in time for the local government elections in 2017, would result in wards which “more accurately” reflected the distribution of voters in different areas.

He stated: “We are pleased to initiate our consultation on ward boundaries with councils today and look forward to engaging with them on our proposals.

“It is important that electoral arrangements for Scottish councils are effective and our proposals improve electoral parity and as far as possible take account of local ties and special geographical considerations.

“In Scotland as a whole, our proposals reduce the number of councillors in Scotland from 1,223 to 1,217.

“The public will benefit from electoral representation that more accurately reflects the distribution of voters within council areas.”

In its review of council wards, the Commission has considered factors such as parity - whether each councillor represents the same number of electors as others - as well as local ties with a community which might be broken by changing the boundaries.

Mr Hinds stated: “Overall we forecast 96 per cent of wards will be within 10 per cent of parity for the council area whereas at present 17 per cent are 10 per cent or more from parity.

“Only two wards out of a total of 351 are forecast to be more than 15 per cent from parity compared to 19 existing wards.

“After completion of this consultation with councils, we will be seeking public views on our proposals over the summer.”

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