Localisation among issues discussed at Women for Independence pre-election gatherings

Event brought together women from across Scotland to discuss the range of issues facing the electorate in the forthcoming Scottish elections

WOMEN FOR INDEPENDENCE (WFI) members have held meetings across Scotland to discuss their priorities ahead of the 2016 Scottish elections.

WFI held listening exercise meetings across Scotland, asking women what they want from the Scottish Parliament.

Hundreds of women took part in discussions in Glasgow, Dundee, Angus, Edinburgh, Clydebank, Fife, Kilmarnock, Lochaber and Paisley.

A summation of feedback from the meetings on the WfI website states that members want more local decision-making to increase political knowledge and democratic engagement.

The report reads: "To increase political knowledge and democratic engagement we want increased local decision-making. We want power closer to people, and are interested in ideas like participatory budgeting, where communities themselves decide how public services are provided.

Women who took part also believe that the elimination of poverty and inequality was the single biggest thing the Scottish Parliament could do to improve health.

"We're hopeful that the new Community Empowerment Act might help to bring more power to local communities. Local councils should hold business meetings in outlying areas (not always the town hall or city chambers) to enable people to participate, and community councils should be given much more power. We're interested in the idea of Scotland having more, smaller local councils."

Other key issues raised by women at meetings across Scotland included land reform, fracking, health and communities, education, justice, employment, social security benefits & universalism, public authority regulation, reproductive rights and the EU.

WFI supporters called for the banning of fracking in Scotland.

Concerning health and communities, the women who took part also believe that the elimination of poverty and inequality was the single biggest thing the Scottish Parliament could do to improve health.

The listening exercise was based on a similar effort held prior to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

Supporters of WfI reaffirmed their belief that an independent Scottish Parliament would be more democratic than staying in the union, and said that the Scottish Parliament elections were more important to them than Westminster general elections.

The full report can be read on the Women for Independence website .

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