The impact of Scottish local government reform on local economic development

Hayton, Keith (1992) The impact of Scottish local government reform on local economic development. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 18 (2). pp. 57-60. ISSN 0306-7866

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If the timetable set out by The Scottish Office in its recent Consultation Paper, "Shaping The New Councils", goes according to plan there should be a new system of local government in Scotland by April 1996. The Paper makes out a case for reform based on such factors as a lack of understanding of the existing system and the difficulties that residents have in identifying with some of the larger authorities. It then goes on to outline the principles upon which the new system should be based. Despite this attempt at objectivity there must be a suspicion, however unjustified, that reform will be used to increase the power of Central Government at the expense of the local authorities. Such suspicion is particularly strong with regard to local economic development, a local authority activity that has tended to be regarded with some ambivalence by Central Government. Accordingly this paper will consider the likely impact of the reform proposals upon local government's economic development role.