“Ultra Local Focus of Power”

By Nick Morrison

OREF meeting on 1st of September 2020

Talk given by Lesley Riddoch on local government and democracy .

Scotland is unusual in Europe with its highly over centralised local government.

In much of Scandinavia it’s about a 20-minute drive for those in local government to attend meetings.

Local councillors there are are not paid. Meetings are held in the evenings and should a meeting have to be held in the day they are given time off to do it .

They also wear several hats. The same counsellor will be responsible for both education and road maintenance for example.

In terms of actual size the Scandinavian councils are probably more like the English parish councils serving around 5000 people.

In Scotland the three Islands Authorities are closest with around 20000 each.

This highly local accountability has in turn lead to the removal of foreign ownership of resources like hydropower and forestry.

Local ray of sunshine in Orkney however is the REFLEX Project which ultimately may result in lower power bills for OHAL residents.

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