COUNCILS should take charge of Scotland’s buses, energy and broadband, a think tank has said. The radical shake-up would see privately owned services nationalised. However, councils rather than the government would be placed in charge Services should be run along similar lines to the publicly owned Lothian buses, it was claimed. The left wing Jimmy Reid foundation calls for a “municipal” form of public ownership. In a report published tomorrow (Mon), it said that would be a radical alternative to privatisation and monolithic state ownership. Dave Watson, its author, said it would allow councils to cut fares and tackle pollution. Watson, head of policy at public sector union Unison Scotland, said bus deregulation and privatisation had led to increased fares. He said: “Bus de-regulation has not been a success. Meanwhile, Watson said that gas and renewable energy should also come under local authority control. He said that model was widespread in America and European nations such as Denmark. Watson said: “Utilities used to be an important part of local government and they remain so in many parts of Europe and North America. “There are some 2000 municipally owned electric utilities, supplying around a quarter of all energy in the USA.” “In Denmark 80 per cent of energy is supplied by collectivist institutions.” Watson said councils could run energy services on a not-for-profit basis. He said that would free up cash to tackle fuel poverty and cut energy bills.
Herald 27th May 2018 read more »