‘Parliament Day - Fort William’ will see the Presiding Officer and two Committees, the Local Government and Regeneration Committee and the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee, undertake a series of meetings with local organisations and groups as well as speaking to 16 and 17 year olds who recently voted in the referendum. The Local Government and Regeneration Committee will also hold a formal evidence session in Lochaber High School where it will take evidence on the Community Empowerment Bill.
Announcing Parliament Day Fort William Presiding Officer the Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP said:
“Parliament Days are about bringing the work of the Parliament directly to the heart of a community. But it is also about giving those living and working in local communities the chance to have their say about the issues which matter to them.
“Fort William is famous for the welcome it gives to the many weary walkers finishing their long journey along the West Highland Way. I am sure that this will be the case once again as the Parliament makes its way to Fort William.”
Speaking ahead of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee’s visit to Fort William Convener, Kevin Stewart MSP said:
“We are in Fort William because we want to explore how people get involved with their local communities and whether the Community Empowerment Bill will make a positive difference to their lives.
“I am delighted our Committee will be visiting Fort William. Only by doing this can we ensure the voices of Scotland’s communities are both heard and acted upon.”
The day will also see the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee hold meetings with 16 and 17 year olds to hear about their experiences of voting in September’s historic independence referendum.
Bruce Crawford MSP, Convener of the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee said:
“This year’s referendum extended the franchise to around 120,000 16 and 17 year olds living in Scotland. As a Committee we want to learn from young people what they thought about all aspects of the process, and where there is room for improvement.
“We will be visiting different parts of Scotland to hear from young people and our first stop is Fort William. We very much look forward to listening and learning from the young people there.”
This is the sixth Parliament Day to take place, with successful events already having been held in Hawick, Stornoway, Stirling, Arbroath and Dumbarton.
Further details about Parliament Day – Fort William will be announced in the coming weeks, including details of the formal meeting of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee; visits to local groups by the Committee; and a programme of engagements by the Presiding Officer.
The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill was introduced in June 2014. The Bill’s policy memorandum states that the Bill reflects the Scottish Government’s policy principles of subsidiarity, community empowerment and improving outcomes.
The Committee’s call for evidence received more than 160 submissions, all of which can be found here:
More information on the Bill can be found here:
The Devolution (Further Powers) Committee was previously known as the Referendum (Scotland) Bill Committee. On 30 October, Parliament approved the name change and an expansion of the Committee’s remit to include scrutiny of the outcome of the work of the Smith Commission.