Transferring Powers to Local Councils Now Agreed Says Attwood
ENVIRONMENT Minister Alex Attwood today (Monday 22 April) announced an agreement which will transfer a package of functions to the 11 new councils from central government departments in April 2015.
The package, which will also give new the councils more wide ranging powers and responsibilities, has now been agreed by the Executive.
Powers will transfer in planning, roads, urban regeneration, community development, housing, local economic development and local tourism. The transfer will also include the delivery of the EU Rural Development Programme, spot listing of buildings and greater involvement of local government in local sports decisions.
Alex Attwood, who announced the changes in an oral statement to the Assembly said: “This is all about bringing power closer to citizens. I welcome Executive colleagues’ endorsement of proposals to transfer powers to Local Councils and this will become reality in April 2015. The more power in local hands, the more democratic our society and the more likely that local people will get the local services they need.
“This decision moves reform up another gear. The Executive funding package, the ongoing consultation on councillor severance, the functions agreement, the Reorganisation Bill in circulation around Executive colleagues and I hope at committee stage before summer recess, all demonstrate how reform is gathering pace. The local councils must do likewise, to help get reform right for our citizens and ratepayers.
“With planning and development plans transferred, Councils will have the opportunity to shape the life of the Council area so that it is better planned and offers better job potential. They will have economic powers strengthened, especially for young people and women. Councils will have opportunity to boost local tourism in their areas.
“Getting all of this right will help transform the way we plan and sustain our cities, towns and rural areas while boosting our economy and protecting our environment.”
The Minister added by highlighting steps already taken towards local government reform. He said: “I have continued to push hard on local government reform and the programme is progressing steadily. Securing a funding package from central government, consulting on and drafting a Local Government Bill, and Regulations to put Statutory Transition Committees in place are all moving momentum forward.”