Council Leader responds to decision on Local Government Boundary Commission proposals

Council Leader responds to decision on Local Government Boundary Commission proposals

Responding to the decision by the Scottish Government to approve the Local Government Boundary Commission’s proposals to reduce the number of Councillors in Highland from 80 to 74, Cllr Margaret Davidson, Leader of the Council expressed her grave disappointment.

She said: “I wrote to the Minister to advise him that there was considerable and widespread unease across local government over the way in which the Local Government Boundary Commission has undertaken this review and asked him to pause the review. It is very disappointing that these concerns have not been taken on board.

"In Highland we raised a number of issues of concern and suggested changes which were based on the rationale of maintaining current community ties, which would provide for better recognisable boundaries; insufficient weight being given to those wards with areas of deprivation; and the special geographical factors of the Highlands. Most of these proposals were not accepted by the Local Government Boundary Commission.

"This will have a significant impact on how effectively communities will be represented across Highland and is a real erosion of democracy.”

The Council raised the following specific concerns:

In relation to the proposals for the Inverness Central ward, the Council felt that the Commission had not given sufficient weight to the fact that this ward contained areas of substantial deprivation and therefore reducing its representation by creating such an overly-populated ward would seem to directly contradict the Commission’s intention to increase the representation of communities facing multiple deprivation.

The Council was extremely concerned that this ward would see a reduction in representation, which would increase the workload for the remaining Councillors.

In relation to the proposals for the Caithness wards, the Council felt that the these proposals will result in a disproportionate reduction in elected representation, that they do not maintain local ties and that there were special geographical factors which should have been taken into account.

The Commission’s final recommendations can be accessed here




14 Sep 2016
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