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MACDONALD'S VIEWS ON COUNCIL SERVICES GET TORY SUPPORT

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Scottish local government minister Calum MacDonald's views on the 'enabling' role of local government in response t...
Scottish local government minister Calum MacDonald's views on the 'enabling' role of local government in response to the establishment of the Scottish parliament, has been supported by Scottish Tories, reported The Scotsman (17 Jan, p6).

Alister Jack, vice-chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party, said that while Mr MacDonald's views represented a U-turn in Labour's thinking, they were welcome all the same.

But Mr MacDonald's position that local authorities should concentrate more on controlling services than providing them, did not go down well with Unison, which claimed that council-provided services were the best.

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities president Keith Geddes however, said Mr MacDonald's speech to the Centre for Scottish Public Policy conference in Edinburgh on Friday, formed the basis of a 'sensible discussion' about the future role of local government.

Mr MacDonald's speech included a plan to set up an independent commission to look at ways in which local democracy can be improved, including directly elected mayors. Elected mayors were supported by both Labour and Tory members, including Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety.
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