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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
23 May 2023
Jackie Weaver: Scottish community councils have no authority

Jackie Weaver at home in 2021

Jackie Weaver: Scottish community councils have no authority

Jackie Weaver has said that Scottish community councils should have more autonomy.

The chief officer of Cheshire Association of Local Councils, who went viral for her involvement in a feisty council meeting in which she was told, “You have no authority here Jackie Weaver!”, said the English-equivalent councils are backed up with more resources.

Weaver told the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee that it was “interesting” to hear that community councils are “valued” but at the same time “kept in line”.

Weaver told MSPs: “It’s very interesting listening to you talk about the strength of your community councils because of course those are exactly the strengths of our town and parish councils. However, in England, we back them up by giving them resources.

“I think it’s very interesting to hear that they are valued in Scotland and yet in some ways that they are also kept in line, so they have no autonomy. And I guess for me, what I’ve seen over my career of 25 years, is that there has been an enormous change in England.

"Whereas I would say that 25 years ago, our town and parish councils were very much like your community councils, but they had tax-raising powers. But they didn’t do very much with them at all.

"And what we’ve seen is central government funding has reduced in England dramatically for our principal authorities. We see our town and parish councils stepping up and filling the gaps.”

She noted that people are interested in big issues like health and transport but said issues that “really impact people’s daily lives is what happens next door to you”, adding that is where “our town and parish councils really come into their own”.   

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