Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate in Galloway and West Dumfries Andrew Metcalf has claimed the SNP’s obsession with centralisation has meant that local control has been lost over decision making and jobs have disappeared to the Central Belt. He says he wants to return decision making back to local communities.
Speaking on the campaign trail Andrew said: “We’ve seen our police force disappear and our fire brigade disbanded. Courts have closed across the region, the local focus of public agencies like Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland has all but disappeared, and our council’s finances have been so tightly regulated by Edinburgh that they aren’t able to respond to local needs. These are decisions made not because of a need to save money, but because the SNP government in Scotland has chosen to stifle local decision making. We fought for devolution to Scotland, and Westminster delivered, but that devolution of power is not getting past Edinburgh.”
In setting out the Liberal Democrats’ alternative agenda for Scotland, Andrew said: “We will give councils back the power to set local taxation, and we would remove the financial penalties used by central government to stop councils making local decisions. We would also return democracy to our police force by making sure that local policing plans have to be approved by locally elected people and we would reduce the culture of national targets across the public sector, so that local staff can get on and meet local priorities.”