Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has used a visit to Sprinkles Ice Cream in Edinburgh to highlight the plight of small business and make the case for giving councils more control over business and economic development.
The party has set out plans to:
- Support the restoration of local control over council tax and business rates as part of a comprehensive plan to increase the proportion of funding determined and distributed locally.
- Campaign for councils to receive their fair share of Scottish Government resources.
- Work through COSLA to develop a new vision for local councils with a suite of new powers which can be used to make a real difference to people’s lives, particularly in economic strategy, energy, transport, town planning and funding for affordable housing.
- Promote the long-overdue replacement of the council tax.
- Support parity of esteem between local and central government underpinned by a fiscal framework that recognises the important work councils do.
- Give a full power of general competence to local authorities, encouraging innovation and easing the grip of government ministers.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“Local businesses have taken a battering during the pandemic. They need help to get back on their feet and compete with online retailers. That’s why we should be giving councils the flexibility to decide what is right for them.
“It is absolutely bonkers to assume that the person best placed to make decisions on everything from enterprise policy to business rates in Gretna, Greenock or Golspie is an SNP minister in Edinburgh.
“Cutting bills for small businesses on the high streets of our towns and villages can help to revitalise areas and sectors which have fallen behind.
“Every Scottish Liberal Democrat elected on 5th May will offer new hope for local businesses and put local people back in charge, not distant SNP ministers.”