Minister calls for more local power in Angus

JPLicence: Picture by Andrew O'Brien:'David Mundell MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale. David Gordon Mundell is a Scottish solicitor, Conservative politician and UK Government Minister, serving as Secretary of State for Scotland since 2015
JPLicence: Picture by Andrew O'Brien:'David Mundell MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale. David Gordon Mundell is a Scottish solicitor, Conservative politician and UK Government Minister, serving as Secretary of State for Scotland since 2015

A senior Westminster minister has called for more discussion on how to give communities more power.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has called for a debate on what new powers historic Burghs like Montrose, Arbroath, Brechin and Forfar should be given by Holyrood in order to take greater control over their own affairs.

In a keynote speech on devolution, Mr Mundell said that councils such as Angus need to make their voice heard with the Scottish Government and make the case for greater powers.

He said that Scottish towns and villages risked falling behind their counterparts in the rest of the UK because the UK Government was already handing back powers to local areas at an unprecedented rate.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “The issue of devolution to local communities is now an urgent one for Scotland. There is a revolution going on in local government across the rest of the United Kingdom, with local areas regaining power and responsibility at an unprecedented rate. Scotland cannot afford to be left behind as the rest of the UK revolutionises how it governs itself, giving towns, cities and counties more of the autonomy which our international competitors enjoy. It’s time we had a proper debate about devolution within Scotland.

“And it should be a real debate - because one size does not fit all. What is the right path for our big cities will not necessarily be right route for our villages and towns to take. Why don’t Scotland’s local authorities strike Burgh Deals, so proud and historic Burghs can have a more direct say in their affairs? People in places like Montrose, Arbroath, Brechin and Forfar should join the debate. Scotland is fortunate to have a strong network of community councils, often based around historic settlements in which people feel real pride. Why don’t they take on more of a role?

“Councils like Angus need to make their voices heard and tell the Scottish Government what powers and responsibilities they want to have to shape their futures. That should be national debate, and I today commit to play my part in that. Devolution is not worthy of the name if it stops at the gates of Holyrood.”