The power and influence of local government has been eroded over decades, Shetland Islands convener Malcolm Bell told a Scottish parliamentary committee.
He said that the “centralisation habit” of various governments had led to councils losing control over key areas.
“For decades, the power and the influence of local government has been eroded, has been chipped away… It has happened under governments of all hues in Edinburgh and in Westminster…
“We have lost power over public health, we have lost water and sewage, police, fire services. Education is now largely directed from Edinburgh.”
Mr Bell was giving evidence to the Local Government and Communities Committee on Wednesday. It was discussing a bill to adopt the European Charter on local self-government into Scots Law.
Doing so would demonstrate that the Scottish government takes its relationship with local government seriously, Mr Bell argued.
• This issue will be explored fully in next week’s Shetland Times.