MORAY RESIDENTS COULD soon have direct control over some aspects of local government funding as the Scottish Government seek to trial ‘participatory budgeting’.
Under the new trial scheme announced by community empowerment minister Marco Biagi this week, 13 local councils will receive a share of a £500,000 pot that local communities can use to match-fund existing council commitments.
As a result Moray will receive £65,000 in a move that local MSP Richard Lochhead says he hopes will be just the first step in empowering local residents.
Mr Biagi said: “In these times of unprecedented political engagement in Scotland, there are many people who want to participate, but don’t get involved in traditional consultations.
“Participatory budgeting gives them a sense of ownership and removes barriers that can often come between them and being involved in local decision making. This funding will give people the opportunity to address the issues that are important to their communities.
“We are now seeing participatory budgeting building momentum in Scotland. This funding will help make it possible for over 50 projects to take place in 2016, a huge expansion on the two dozen or so projects that have taken place in the last few years.”
Welcoming the announcement in Moray, Richard Lochhead said: “In these times of unprecedented political engagement in Scotland, participatory budgeting offers communities the chance to have a direct say in how councils spend their money.
“This funding will support initiatives to give people the opportunity to address the issues that are important to their communities.
“Participatory budgeting has been used in other countries and the impact can be transformational. I hope that this is the first step in empowering residents in Moray and supporting their engagement with local government and their local community.”
Moray Council is now expected to hold budgeting events in collaboration with key stakeholders, some of whom will provide funding for suitable projects in the region.