Power to the people
The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill aims to give local communities powers to take control of vital local assets. After campaigning alongside our partners and members in Scotland, amendments have been made to the Bill that enable communities to use the co-operative model, in the form of a community benefit society (Bencom), to take ownership and control of local assets.
This model is already in use across Scotland - and the UK more widely - where thousands of people are saving vital assets or starting new ventures through community share schemes, by pooling their resources and collectively running new community enterprises.
In addition to the inclusion of the co-operative model, a substantial amendment was accepted that extends the community right-to-buy to include football clubs playing in the four divisions of the Scottish Premiership Football League. This benefits fan owned Supporters’ Trusts, most of which use the Bencom model to ensure they have a stake in their club.
The Community Empowerment Bill covers a wide range of areas, from asset transfer to land reform and includes matters such as community asset transfers and right-to-buy as well as crofting, forestry and allotments issues. It provides a boost to communities wishing to use community shares to help fund a range of activities covered by the Bill. It is hoped that a wider range of financing options will lead to an increase in the viability of asset transfers and right-to-buy opportunities.