William Eichler 19 January 2022

Nearly half of Scots back directly elected provosts

Nearly half of Scots back directly elected provosts  image
Image: Damir Sencar.

A new poll has revealed strong support for directly elected provosts across Scotland.

The survey, carried out by Opinium who approached 1,098 Scottish residents, found that 75% were ‘not confident’ that they could name the leader of their local council.

The campaign group Our Scottish Future, led by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said this revealed a ‘crisis in local democracy’.

The group also highlighted the historically low turn-out in local elections, which has been consistently below 50% since devolution.

According to Our Scottish Future, a possible solution to the crisis was the creation of directly elected provosts — a position analogous to directly elected mayors in England.

The Opinium survey, which was commissioned by Our Scottish Future, found that 45% of Scots would support the introduction of directly elected provosts, as against 21% who would oppose. A third of respondents said they did not know.

Nearly three-quarters (71%) said they would be more likely than not to vote in an election for a directly elected provost.

Commenting on the poll, Mr Brown said: ‘Local democracy is back in vogue everywhere round the world and Scotland should be in the vanguard not lagging behind.

‘Our poll today shows that Scots are ahead of their government on this. Devolution cannot stop in Edinburgh – it is time to give our great Scottish cities and regions the power and control they need too.’

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