People power

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Oxfam, the Poverty Alliance and Barnardo’s Scotland supported amendments to the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill as it made its way through the Scottish Parliament.

This month the bill will pass through its final stage in the Scottish Parliament.

As organisations working with disadvantaged communities in Scotland we believe the bill has the potential to empower communities right across the country, including those who are currently our most disempowered.

However, this depends on these key amendments, tabled by Alex Rowley MSP, and passed by the Scottish Parliament’s local government and regeneration committee, remaining in place.

Parliament must ensure that the “National Outcomes” – the Scottish Government’s priorities for the country – are developed following wide consultation with people who live and work in Scotland, and a robust process of parliamentary scrutiny.

Parliament must also safeguard the right of appeal for communities who have been refused the opportunity to participate in efforts to improve public services.

The Community Empowerment Bill needs to ensure that all of Scotland’s communities are empowered but these important elements of the legislation must remain in place for that to fully be the case. Without these amendments we are concerned that communities will be unable to take advantage of the rights that the bill gives them.

We hope both the Scottish Government and parliament will support these important amendments. Not to do so would be to remove the heart from the Community Empowerment Bill.

Martin Crewe

Director, Barnardo’s Scotland

Peter Kelly

Director, Poverty Alliance

Jamie Livingstone

Head of Oxfam Scotland