Falkirk Council opposes plan to reduce councillor numbers

Falkirk Council could lose two elected members under boundary plans
Falkirk Council could lose two elected members under boundary plans

The number of elected representatives serving on Falkirk Council could be reduced under radical plans to redraw Scotland’s local political map.

Neighbouring local authorities in Stirling, North Lanarkshire and West Lothian all stand to gain more councillors if proposals drawn up by the Local Government Boundary Commission are backed by the Scottish Government.

But Falkirk could lose two representatives - despite the district’s population continuing to rise - ahead of the next council elections in 2017.

Officials at the Municipal Buildings have already registered opposition to the plan in the council’s official response to the commission.

It argues that instead of losing two members, it should gain one to take its total to 33, reflecting local population growth.

Falkirk Council leader Craig Martin said: “We have a growing population, with more people requiring local services such as schools and care for the elderly.

“It’s therefore concerning that the commission proposes to reduce the number of councillors in Falkirk, but in areas of a similar size, such as West Lothian, they plan an increase.”

The number of councillors on each council was last reviewed in 1996.

Boundary commission chairman Ronnie Hinds said: “There have been many changes in Scotland since our last reviews, and it is important that electoral arrangements for Scottish councils take account of those changes as part of ensuring effective local democracy.”

The commission drew up its recommendations based on a methodology that takes into account levels of deprivation and population distribution in each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas.

Using these factors, similar councils were grouped together for the purpose of determining councillor numbers.