Local councils have a range of political and bugetary pressures with a wide range of welfare, democratic, and cultural roles.
Despite the obvious importance of the local council in Scottish public life, their study by social scientists has become somewhat of a niche subject. Indeed, there is often a tendency to think that the workings of the Scottish Government and Parliament are somewhat ‘bigger’ subjects.
This chapter seeks to outline the role played by local councils in Scotland and draw attention to many of the budgetary and political pressures that they face. By comparing local government in Scotland pre- and post-devolution, the chapter also assesses the status of councils within Scotland’s democratic culture, their role as part of the welfare state, and their position within the Scottish polity today.