Policies - Local Government in Scotland


1. Reverse Centralisation

The Scottish Christian Party is concerned at the ongoing breakdown of local communities and the weakening of local government through centralist policies in Edinburgh, Westminster and Brussels. Individuals, families and communities should be encouraged to manage their own lives as much as possible, with collective arrangements being made at the most appropriate local level.

Too many local matters, such as the pricing of fuel for remote and rural areas, require EU approval, and withdrawal from the European Union will redress the framework within which local government is conducted. We consider it disingenuous that the SNP wish Independence from the United Kingdom, only to retain even more distant control over Scottish affairs from Brussels.

2. Freedom of Conscience

The Scottish Christian Party will seek to reverse the anti-Christian discrimination that permeates much of public life and enshrine in Scottish law the right to “freedom of conscience” for employees in relation to non-core duties and extra-curricular activities, particularly those working for statutory authorities and the BBC. In the event of a dispute, the onus should be on the employer to demonstrate to an employment tribunal that the requested action is part of a core duty.

3. Control of Schools

The Scottish Christian Party opposes any plans to take responsibility for state schools away from local government in favour of large quangos. We favour more issues concerning curriculum, discipline and policy being devolved from Holyrood to local authorities.

4. Voting System

The Scottish Christian Party will resist plans to change the current system of voting for the Scottish Parliament elections and wish to retain the Additional Members System (AMS). AMS should be considered for local authority elections instead of the current Single Transferable Vote (STV) system which favours larger parties.

Not only is there a cost implication in changing the voting system, but experience has shown that the electorate are confused by different systems, especially on the same day.

We believe that the time frame to vote on the UK Parliamentary Alternative Vote (AV) referendum on 5/5/2011 is too short for a meaningful decision. This is another example of the top-down dogmatic approach of the coalition Conservative-Liberal-Democratic Government.

Having moved the local government election from the same day, for good reasons, we are at a loss to know the good reason for having the AV referendum on the same day as the Scottish Parliamentary election at such short notice.

5. Equality and Diversity Training

The Scottish Christian Party will seek to ensure that all diversity training sponsored by local authorities should include the Christian perspective on faith, morality, marriage, sexuality, etc. Currently, “diversity training” promotes, and is dominated by, the idea of the homosexual lobby that toleration of homosexuality is condescending, and that nothing less than wholesale acceptance or approval of their choice of lifestyle is acceptable.

However, forcing agreement is not tolerance but coersion. Tolerance begins where agreement ends.

Equality and Diversity training ought to be about learning to live peaceably and tolerantly with people with different lifestyles and world views, not allowing one’s offence at other people’s world views to become verbal or violent assaults, far less intimidating them with legal sanctions.

We must “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21), “not rendering evil for evil, but instead blessing” (1Peter 3:9). When Christ was reviled, “He reviled not again, when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously.” (1Peter 2:23). This is Christian tolerance.

Equality and Diversity must include equality for Christianity and an acknowledgement that Christianity is diverse from humanism. As Equality and Diversity training includes religion and belief (as well as age, disability, gender, race and sexual orientation) so Christian beliefs should not be targeted as homophobic, which in itself offends Christians who have no such phobia.

6. Public funding

We do not believe that public funds, from local councils or health boards, should be used to promote homosexual festivals and events. We are concerned at the level of grants to homosexual organisations, while at the same time Christian charities are having their grants curtailed because they fall foul of Equality legislation. This is far from equitable as recent figures from the Office for National Statistics state that only 1% of the UK population is homosexual, while 70% of the population identifies itself as Christian.

7. Council Tax

In present circumstances, we agree that Council Tax should be frozen.  Subject to realistic costings the Scottish Christian Party will support the replacement of the Council Tax with a fairer revenue raising system to provide for local services and infrastructure. On the same basis the Scottish Christian Party will support the further reduction and even abolition of Council Tax for pensioners.

8. Contract Law

We will review the Public Contracts Tendering Process to ensure accountability for escalating expenditure and a mediation clause in contracts with precise steps in the event of arbitration. The excess expenditure and failure to deliver on time in the construction of the Scottish Parliament and the Edinburgh tram project demonstrates that contractors as well as politicians do not want to be held to their ‘manifesto’ once they have secured the contract. This unchristian culture needs to be reversed so that one’s word is one’s bond, especially in view of the approaching new bridge crossing of the Firth of Forth.

9. The consumer

Too many vendors, especially those online, are frustrating customers by failing to take ownership of a problem. Too often they expect the customer to deal with the manufacturer or to diagnose the problem themselves before they will accept responsibility for after care.

The advent of online trading is altering the balance against the consumer.

There is little scope for negotiation of terms and conditions, or after care service, but only on price. Online selling encourages customers to lie by expecting the purchaser to accept Terms and Conditions which they have no time to read before the online website times out.

Too often the consumer is at the mercy of the seller, so that the old adage “the consumer is king” is not as relevant as the even older adage “buyer beware”.

We highlight that some companies discriminate against certain postcodes by adding unfair surcharges.

10. Tax and Benefit system

The tax and benefit system is too difficult for busy people to understand.

Central government agencies work at their own slow pace and then expect the public to respond within narrow time limits with the threat of sanctions or loss of appeal rights. The ability to telephone and speak to a human being is almost non-existent, leading to voluminous complaints about automated telephone systems. Whereas a frustrated customer can usually go elsewhere, when this experience occurs with government agencies and is coupled with tax demands and criminal sanctions it has reached an intolerable stage and it is ripe for reform.

The tax and benefit system is too complicated for the ordinary citizen. It is shocking that people who have never been in debt in their lives face demands for outstanding debts from overworked and inadequately resourced HMRC and government agencies. Things have gone too far when ordinary people cannot relate to the tax and benefit system without recourse to an accountant or a solicitor. It is unjust that the ordinary citizen can be criminalised for falling foul of laws which are so complicated that even professionals will defer to experts in the field. The Scottish Christian Party will actively look for solutions to this pressing problem.

11. Holyrood MSPs

The Scottish Christian Party will seek to close the loophole that allows regional list MSPs to retain their seat if they are no longer a member of the party. We believe the party should be allowed to replace such a person with an MSP from their official list.


Christian Party Members of Parliament will:

Christian Party Policies

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