In a recent article, Third Force News, the ‘voice of the Scotland’s third sector’ reports a commitment from the SNP to extend the role of participatory budgeting(PB) to 1% of Glasgow City Council’s Budget if it takes control of the city in upcoming elections. In a city with a population of around 600,000, that is the equivalent of around £170 for every resident, per year, irrespective of age.
PB is not new in Glasgow. This year, under the name of ‘community budgeting‘ the city trialled a PB grant making process that covered the whole city. This distributed over £200,000 earlier this year. An ambitious programme in the UK context in itself. But a long way short of £100m.
The article by Susan Smith, published on the 6th September 2016, goes on to quote Susan Aitkin, SNP group Leader as saying: “The days of top-down decision making should be over… It won’t be a magic bullet but, with the right local structures in place and the right support behind them, communities working in partnership with councillors and council officers will make informed decisions confidently.”
Dr Oliver Escobar, of the University of Edinburgh, who recently co-authored a report into PB in Scotland is reported as saying the Glasgow plan would put the city alongside world-leaders in PB: “Glasgow’s communities can benefit greatly from an ambitious PB programme, particularly if it is developed with a focus on tackling inequalities… If this proposal comes to fruition, Glasgow will join a number of leading cities like Paris and New York that are currently adapting the original Brazilian PB model to make a difference in local communities."
- An evaluation report of Glasgow’s Community Budgeting programme is online.
- More information is also on the PB Scotland website, along with the short film below.