Local councils ‘stripped of power’ by SNP, says Patrick Harvie

THE SNP government has stripped local councils of power and left them in a “straitjacket”, according to Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie.

He insisted that the council tax freeze, effectively imposed from Edinburgh, has left councils without the financial power to make decisions for their areas, as voters prepare to go to the polls in the local elections on 3 May.

“The Scottish Government has put local councils in a straitjacket – stripped of powers to make decisions for their areas and denied the democratic authority to decide on how best to pay for services,” Mr Harvie said.

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The Greens continue to offer a different perspective on economics and the financial crisis. With a land valuation tax, councils would enjoy more independence and secure local finance. We aim to reverse the trend of removing power from councils.”

The party claims the land tax could raise an extra £1 billion on dormant land, but it has previously met with an angry backlash from landowners.

Greens also back investment in publicly-owned renewable energy generation and energy efficiency for all homes and council-owned buildings to raise revenue, create new long-term jobs, cut fuel bills and fuel poverty.

A living wage of £7.20 an hour would be introduced for council staff and workers on council contracts, along with a maximum wage ratio of ten to one between the highest and lowest paid. The Greens are hoping to build on the ten councillors they have around the country.