Through at Glenurquhart Road at the full meeting of Highland Council on Thursday, Provost Laurie Fraser spoke during the debate on the agenda item “Proposal to establish a Commission on Highland Democracy”, he said:
"I actually welcome this paper, I still believe an independent Nairnshire would be a good thing but I recognise that it is not going to happen in the current financial climate. If we are going to do down this path of localised democracy we’ve got to bring the budgets and the cash with it: it’s no use having area committees and meetings locally with local people unless the cash comes with it. As one of my newspaper editors said to be a couple of months ago “In today’s modern financial world why can’t somebody in the finance department just press a button and then gets your income up for each post code and there’s a percentage allocated to each area by the local councillors, it’s not that difficult to do I’m sure.
|Double up to 160 Highland councillors? Laurie thinks it can be done|
Additionally we shouldn’t just be looking at our democracy here in the Highlands. I think there is a demographic deficiency in sort of councillor representation within Scotland and I think that we should at the same time I think we should be looking at lobbying central government for improvements to democracy because we can’t just do it all in house. For example, I believe that if you try to run a committee in Nairn with four councillors it’s insufficient as a committee, eight is a proper number for a committee to try and run Nairn and to get a good balance of views and to get good representation. For that it means a doubling of the number of councillors. Quite honestly I would advocate we actually double the number of councillors on the Highland Council from 80 to 160. I just don’t see why not. I think it could be done."