The future role of Scottish local government economic development

Hayton, Keith (1989) The future role of Scottish local government economic development. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 15 (2). pp. 68-73. ISSN 2046-5378

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Since 1979 local authorities have been subjected to two main pressures from central government: increasing control over the range and type of services that can be provided; and greater emphasis on the private sector's role. So far, beyond being affected by the general financial constraints that local government has been placed under, the economic development services that many local authorities provide have escaped largely unscathed. This situation seems now likely to change radically as a result of three measures. These are:- a) the Local Government and Housing Bill; b) Scottish Enterprise; and c) changes to the structure of local government. When considered in isolation these measures contain much that is attractive and which could produce a more effective economic development service; for example, a specific power to carry out economic development and the creation of an integrated training and enterprise development service. However the argument that is put forward in this paper is that these measures have to be seen as complementary. They are part of an overall strategy intended to result in a major reduction in local government's local economic development activities.