Held a meeting today with Civil Servants from the Scottish Executive on the issue of trading and charging. This has been a major dilemma for Scottish local authorities since a drafting error at the final stages of the publication of the 2003 Local Government Act (Scotland).
Basically the Act was designed to bring a bright new dawn to the area of trading and charging, encouraging local authorities to be more outgoing and innovative in their approach. However when the post bill tidy up happened the explanatory notes changed this intention into one where local authorities were limited in this area to utilising surplus capacity. Never discussed or debated in parliament, this now turned an enabling piece of legislation into a regressive one. What had been an area of uncertainty was now even more uncertain than ever.
I am now starting to feel old as the meeting was with the latest Civil Servant with responsibility for sorting out the mess and this was the fourth person with responsibility since it began in 2003. Fortunately those involved genuinely appear to want to resolve this issue now and I am taking an active role in ensuring that the Association does everything it can to help.