Civil parishes in Scotland

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Civil parishes in Scotland, as units of local government, were abolished by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929. The geographical area is sometimes still referred to, however, for statistical purposes. (See List of civil parishes in Scotland). A new system of communities was created by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 but, unlike in parish councils in England and community councils in Wales, Scottish community councils have no statutory powers, although in some cases local councils have a legal obligation to include them in consultation exercises.

Civil parishes in Scotland can be dated from 1845, when parochial boards were established to administer the poor law. While they originally corresponded to the parishes of the Church of Scotland, the number and boundaries of parishes soon diverged. Where a parish contained a burgh, a separate landward parish was formed for the portion outside the town. Until 1891 many parishes lay in more than one county. In that year, under the terms of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, the boundaries of most of the civil parishes and counties were realigned so that each parish was wholly within a single county. In 1894 the parochial boards were replaced by more democratically elected parish councils. These were in turn abolished in 1930, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929. Although civil parishes have had no administrative role since that date, they have continued to exist. They were used to define some of the local authorities created by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, they continue to be used for census purposes and they are used as part of the coding system for agricultural holdings under the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) used to administer schemes within the Common Agricultural Policy. According to the website of the General Register Office for Scotland, there are now 871 civil parishes.[1]

Since 1975, Scotland has had bodies called community councils, but Scottish community councils are not equivalent to English parish councils and Welsh community councils, and have no real powers. Some of the community council areas are defined in terms of civil parishes.

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