Local Government Minister outlines Scottish Government support
Issued by The Scottish Parliament
Maintaining good relationships with Scotland’s councils will be an essential part of protecting public services in the face of the UK Government’s cuts, Local Government Minister Marco Biagi has said.
On a visit to Inverness Mr Biagi outlined his commitment to working with local authorities and public bodies to improve communities for the benefit of those who live there.
During his time there on Friday, the Local Government Minister met with members of the Highland Council and the Community Planning Partnership to get an understanding of how they deliver services in the area.
He also visited the public hall in Smithton and saw first-hand the benefits of giving people the power to make their own decisions through community empowerment initiatives.
Mr Biagi said: “It’s been fantastic to meet with the Highland Council’s leader and chief executive and find out how I and the Scottish Government can build on this positive and constructive relationship.
“We recognise that the UK Government’s continued cuts to our budget have a knock on effect for local authorities which make for challenging times.
“That’s why councils and the Scottish Government need to work together to be flexible, innovative and to encourage positive industrial relations.
“The public hall at Smithton is an excellent example of a facility that has been taken over by the community and has since gone from strength to strength, with more people than ever before now using the centre.
“Our First Minister has already set out protecting public services and giving communities the opportunities to make their own choices as priorities for her Government.
“I am excited to take forward this work by engaging with councils and making sure everyone has a part to play in creating a fairer and more prosperous country.”
Leader of The Highland Council, Drew Hendry added: “Public services in Highland, through the Community Planning Partnership, are already working together on how best to take forward the Government’s Community Empowerment Bill, due to be enacted next Summer.
“We are starting from a good position having supported many communities already to own and manage local buildings and land and providing local services.
“The Council has been actively seeking to engage with communities, to support them through the transfer of assets and the public hall in Smithton is an excellent example of how a public asset, once transferred to the community, can grow and develop and become a hub of activity for the community.”