Local Government in Scotland: Reform or Decline? by Arthur Midwinter

By Arthur Midwinter

A presentation and significant account of the key adjustments applied by way of the Conservative govt in Westminster given that 1987 and their impression on Scotland. this article argues that the absence of considerable help for the Conservative process is resulting in instability and descriptions the case for a constitution and procedure which could safe democratic keep watch over and sensible potency in a context the place municipal provision will stay the dominant type of carrier supply.

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The result was that the balance of power and responsibility between central and local government had gone wrong, with a movement of power towards the centre, and greater interference in administrative matters. To overcome this, Wheatley recommended the creation of seven new regional authorities, with responsibility for strategic services, the major local government functions of police, fire, water and sewerage, roads and transport, education, social work, housing and planning; and 37 district councils responsible for environmental and amenity services of a local nature.

50) Wheatley's proposals reflected its view of efficiency and democracy - it concluded that the areas of local government no longer accorded with patterns of life and work; that authorities were too small to administer their responsibility effectively and efficiently; and that many authorities were heavily dependent upon central government grant for their 16 Local Government in Scotland income. The result was that the balance of power and responsibility between central and local government had gone wrong, with a movement of power towards the centre, and greater interference in administrative matters.

However, individual households which faced a significant increase in their liability as a result of the transition from community charge to council tax are eligible for transitional relief to dampen the effect until 1995. Enforcement procedures remain broadly the same reminders, summary warrants, arrestment of earnings and bank accounts, attachment of income support and poindings and warrant sales. The notion of local accountability depending on the requirement to pay is paid lip service to, in the government's claim that the tax takes account of around 90 per cent of adults - but it would be more accurate to say that it takes account of the 17 per cent of the population living in single-adult households, and for the remainder the liability to pay depends on the property value and household income.

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