Democracy Matter consultation from the Scottish Government

‘Democracy Matters’: phase 2 consultation from the Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance

Contributions have to be submitted by 28 February 2024.

The fundamental question being asked is: do those of us wo live on Tiree want more control over our own lives?

In general, Tiree Community Council thinks that the answer is yes.

Tiree has made great progress in building community capacity over the last twenty years:

  • There is a community-owned livestock mart and cafe
  • There is a community-owned hall
  • There is a community development trust owning a wind turbine, community broadband, a harbour and two piers, a community shop, fuel station, business units, and employing a ranger (operating a croft camping scheme), Gaelic development workers and a youth worker
  • There is a community business running the Crossapol business centre and the Scarinish public toilets
  • There is a community trust running the Hynish lighthouse shore station

However, there are challenges:

  • Recruiting enough directors and councillors is not easy. The island’s population is only 650, and there is a small-community reticence to stick one’s head above the parapet
  • There is always a fear that a few people with sharp elbows will take over
  • We know it costs more to deliver services on an island than on the mainland. If we were given our own budgets, we would need to make sure there was enough money in the kitty

So, any changes in the way we are governed:

  • Should allow communities to opt-in. Not every community will be ready at the same time
  • Should be slow and evolutionary, so the community has time to adjust and build capacity
  • Will be more expensive, so funding will need to go up
  • Will need support, possibly involving mentors from places where this sort of thing works
  • While we try to keep up-to-date with our neighbouring islands, Tiree is a stand-alone community. We want to keep it that way, rather than be amalgamated with other areas.

 The full consultation is at:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/democracy-matters-phase-2-consultation-local-governance-review/

You are encouraged to engage with this individually.

John Holliday

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