Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
Scotland's largest public service union is calling for the Scottish ...
Scotland's largest public service union is calling for the Scottish

government to take radical action to address increasing disaffection for

politics from Scotland's young people. In the union's response to the

government's consultation on local governance the union argues that the age

limit for local government candidates should be dropped to 16.

'This is a real opportunity for the Scottish government to make a

difference,' said Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish organiser for policy. 'The

Electoral Commission is currently talking about reducing the voting age

below 18, and the Executive is proposing a reduction of the age limit for

councillors to 18. We think they should grasp the nettle and equalise both

voting and candidacy limits at 16.'

The union argues for this move as part of a package of reforms aimed at

encouraging wider participation in local democracy. They also are arguing

for much more relaxation of the rules barring local authority staff from

standing for local councils, increased use of alternative voting methods

such as postal voting, and fairer remuneration for councillors.

'We feel that the Scottish government has it within their power to make a

major difference to local democratic accountability,' said Dave Watson.

'Young people in Scotland can marry at 16, be called up, and pay tax and

National Insurance. To refuse them the democratic rights everyone else has,

simply serves to alienate them from the political system. We have seen this

disengagement happening and think this is a step towards dealing with it.'

The union has over 70,000 members working for Scottish local government,

and is currently running a major campaign to revitalise Scottish public

services. The accountability of public services to the Scottish people is

central to that campaign.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.