THE community buy out of a West Fife pub has been hailed as an example of what a new Community Wealth Building Bill could bring to places across Scotland.

Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur MSP popped into the Red Lion in Culross on Tuesday morning to launch a public consultation for the proposed legislation aimed at helping grow local economies and ensure more money stays in the hands of communities.

Locals and interested parties from around the world rallied round to buy the pub after it had been threatened with closure. Backed by Outlander star Sam Heughan, who had filmed in the royal burgh and enjoyed a drink in the bar, the initiative has been highlighted as an example of what a bill would support.

“We want to create an economy which delivers prosperity for all of Scotland’s people and places," said Mr Arthur. "Community Wealth Building is about enabling people to have a stake in the wealth that their local economy generates. This is central to our plans to reform Scotland’s economy for the wellbeing of current and future generations.

“While Community Wealth Building has grown in popularity in recent years, legislation has the potential to achieve more rapid benefits for communities, helping both people to earn incomes from fair work and more locally-owned businesses to bid for public sector contracts. Money spent locally is more likely to stay in the local economy and support local jobs.

“This public consultation will inform a Community Wealth Building Bill, which we will introduce to Parliament, to achieve these aims. I look forward to hearing a wide range of views on how we can use this process to transform our local economies to become greener, fairer and more prosperous.”

Fife is one of five pilot areas which are being supported to develop Community Wealth Building action plans.

Councillor David Ross, leader of Fife Council, explained: “We are committed to creating a fairer Fife where we grow the local economy and everyone benefits from the wealth generated within our communities. That’s what community wealth building is about.

"In Fife, in conjunction with local partners, we are already forging ahead with ground-breaking changes to embed community wealth building so that local people, communities and businesses benefit now and into the future.

"The pilot programme in Fife has seen us implementing progressive procurement practices that are helping local businesses to bid for public sector contracts, making sure more local people receive the living wage and rolling out innovative training and recruitment programmes to ensure people have access to quality local jobs. Our key partners are all signed up to a charter to deliver change.

“Whilst we have seen this significant progress locally, reform of legislation would provide powers for greater change, and we welcome the opportunity to help shape a future Community Wealth Building Bill.”

The Scottish Government consultation will run for 12 weeks and seeks community, business and wider feedback on proposals to place a legal duty on public bodies such as health authorities and local councils to use the economic levers they have to support the transformation of local and regional economies.