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KERLEY EXPLAINS PROPOSALS FOR RENEWAL OF SCOTTISH LOCAL DEMOCRACY

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Richard Kerley, chairman of the working party on renewing local democracy, which published its report yesterday, ha...
Richard Kerley, chairman of the working party on renewing local democracy, which published its report yesterday, has written articles on the report's proposals for both The Herald (p4) and The Scotsman (p4).

He says there is no one perfect electoral system. They all have strengths and weaknesses and no electoral system provides a solution to the ills - real and imagined - of local government.

But 'After nine months of reading, talking and thinking about renewing local democracy, the majority of the working party decided that a change in the electoral system to the single transferable vote form of proportional representation.'

He says this form of PR will ensure a common link between councillors and those who elect them, even through there will be more than one councillor in each ward.

He also mentions the proposals for changing the way councillors are rewarded for their work. 'All councillors need to be compensated for their efforts,' he says, 'and some councillors with really demanding responsibilities (like council leaders) need to be paid at a realistic level - which means more than many of them get now.

'We also need to address the current extremely unfair arrangement whereby councillors are treated like employees when it comes to paying tax and national insurance, but are unable to enjoy the benefits of employee status such as pension rights.'

He concludes: 'We believe the ideas we are putting forward, if implemented, can make real difference to local democracy in Scotland - and complement the difference the parliament is already making.'

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