City leaders in ‘power grab’ policy change

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CITY leaders have been accused of mounting a power grab by proposing far-reaching changes to the way decisions are made at Edinburgh City Council.

From September it is expected a new system of governance will be introduced with committees no longer making decisions.

Instead they will only make recommendations to a central policy committee of council bosses, run by leader Andrew Burns, who has insisted the new system will allow more time for debating and 
scrutiny.

However, Maggie Chapman, a Green councillor for Leith Walk, said backbenchers in her own party would be concerned about being squeezed out of decisions. She said: “The proposal to create an all-powerful policy and finance committee which would be the hub of almost all decision-making is potentially a narrowing of the base on which decisions are made, particularly when a disproportionate number of places are mooted for administration councillors.

“Squeezing out opposition voices is an unusual way of seeking to improve consensus – and it is probably backbench SNP or Labour councillors who should be particularly fearful of being marginalised.”

Yesterday, the Evening News also told how as few as 250 signatures will be needed to get a public petition on the city council agenda.

A group of 20 registered businesses or traders will also be able to raise issues ranging from local transport issues to how cash is spent.