The Scottish Government should “take devolution to the next level” after Brexit, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Lesley Laird said yesterday (Tuesday).
Lesley said it was time for a re-empowering of local authorities to “reignite the spark” they provide to local communities.
On the final destination of powers returning from Brussels she criticised the Tories’ attempted power grab – and the centralisation of powers by the SNP at Holyrood.
“Labour established the Scottish Parliament and has led the way in adding to its powers,” said Lesley. “We have no intention of seeing that progress threatened in any way by Brexit.
“The attempted power grab by the Westminster government was wrong, but we must not condone the centralisation of powers by the Scottish Government either.
“But amid all of the challenges of our withdrawal from the EU, there is a wider opportunity here to take devolution to the next level – to re-empower and reignite the spark that local government provides to local communities.
“Indications are that the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies will end up with more powers. That’s why Labour has and will continue to resist any power grab as a result of Brexit.
“But we also believe we should be working constructively now to ensure that additional powers coming back from Brussels end up where they belong. The attempted power grab by the Westminster government was wrong. We must not condone the centralisation of powers by the Scottish Government either.
“Now is the time to seriously devolve powers and funding to local government. Now is the time to develop stronger, local delivery channels, particularly in the areas of economic and skills development and industrial strategy.
“I am calling on the Scottish Government to seize this opportunity and work with CoSLA on this issue.
“It is the many not the few who depend most upon council services, it is the many not the few who are hardest hit when these cuts are forced upon councils. The Scottish Government now have the opportunity to take bold and decisive action, to work with CoSLA about the powers and the funding that can be devolved directly to local government and invigorate economies and communities across Scotland.”