Local Government Reform (Highland Council Boundaries)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 11 November 2021.

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Photo of Emma Roddick Emma Roddick Scottish National Party

1. I declare that I am a sitting councillor.

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will consider local government reform in relation to the redrawing of local authority areas, in light of the reported issues associated with new boundaries for the Highland Council area. (S6O-00361)

Photo of George Adam George Adam Scottish National Party

Boundaries Scotland recently conducted a review of the ward boundaries for Highland Council. As required under the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, all the local authority areas with inhabited islands were reviewed. The proposal for Highland Council was not approved by the Scottish Parliament. There are currently no plans to review boundaries for local authority areas.

Photo of Emma Roddick Emma Roddick Scottish National Party

Does the minister believe that, given its size, the Highland Council area can be described as “local” government? Would he see benefits in having an Inverness city council, both for our fastest-growing city and for the rest of the Highlands area, which has very different interests?

Photo of George Adam George Adam Scottish National Party

We currently have no plans to change the council’s area. I understand that the geographic challenges for Highland Council were recognised when it was first created. Unfortunately, those challenges, which have not changed, did not allow for a practical solution that would have enabled the area to be split up.