Commission plans slammed as 'an insult to democracy' and 'a hammer blow to far north'
Updated: Jan 28, 2021
Councillor Struan Mackie (Thurso and Northwest Caithness) hopes the commission will drop the plans or come up with a suitable alternative.
Under the proposal there would be 72 councillors in the Highlands and 20 wards, which would be a loss of three councillors and one ward. In Caithness, there would be a total of seven councillors, down by one – three representing the landward area and two each in Thurso and Wick. Sutherland would have four councillors, down from six.
Councillor Mackie pointed out that Highland Council had voted unanimously to reject the proposals which he said would be “damaging to local democracy and would represent a hammer blow to the far north of Scotland”. He said: “A further reduction in councillors, however small, would bring us closer to breaking point. If councillors cannot represent their constituents properly, the community will lose out.”
He said more than 1000 residents from across the region have signed his petition calling for the plans to be “consigned to the shredder". A public consultation ends on January 26.
“It is my hope that the commission will look at the strength of feeling and either drop the proposals or come up with a suitable alternative. If not we must take our case to Holyrood and ask Scottish Government ministers to intervene. If needed, Highland MSPs must be prepared to take up this battle on our behalf.”