Every Council seat in Scotland is up for grabs on May 3rd and Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie was in Inverness on Monday to launch the party’s Local Elections campaign. He outlined four main priorities that the party’s councillors would be fighting on over the next five years. These are:
- Creating jobs and boosting the economy
- Early intervention to ensure that children are given the support they need when they need it
- Improving the environment, boosting recycling
- Taking care of our aging population, making sure that services meet people’s needs
He was also keen to outline the achievements of our Councillors in the 13 administrations we are part of across Scotland. These include:
Edinburgh – Over 20% reduction in crime by focusing on community neighbourhood policing, the Edinburgh Guarantee helping young people back to work, building a better future for our capital. Also homelessness slashed and social care services improved.
Fife – household recycling above 50% making it one of the greenest councils in Scotland and judged to have the best care services in Scotland.
Perth and Kinross – building the first council houses in a generation and the first council to meet the 2012 homelessness targets and doing it ahead of time.
Aberdeenshire – prioritised spending on education despite tough times with new schools built and have won awards for stewardship of council.
Aberdeen – Liberal Democrats have brought the budget back from the cliff-edge where Labour left it and are now held up by Audit Scotland as an example for all to follow
Highlands – Liberal Democrats have met the challenge of tough times with a radical new charitable trust to protect services and, by careful work with NHS Highland, Liberal Democrats have helped elderly people and children who need better care.
Willie appeared with Highland Council candidates including Carolyn Caddick who won a thrilling by-election victory, by just 7 votes over the SNP, in Inverness last November.
On the party’s record and priorities, the leader had this to say:
Scottish Liberal Democrats have a track record of delivering for local communities across Scotland.
Over the last five years we have served in thirteen council administrations, more than any other party.
From helping young people back to work in Edinburgh to clearing up the mess left by Labour in Aberdeen, from increasing recycling rates in Fife to building new council houses in Perthshire, our councillors get results.
We have done so much, but we have only just got started.
The next few years will present some tough challenges for local authorities to continue to provide the services we all rely on despite falling budgets. That is why Scotland needs competent councillors who have a record of action and can be trusted to do more with less.
Today I set out the key priorities that Scottish Liberal Democrats will focus on in the next five years.
Creating jobs, improving our environment, giving children the best possible chance in life and taking care of our growing elderly population are national issues that need a local focus.
Scottish Liberal Democrat councillors will not shy away from these challenges. We will confront them head on and get the best possible deal for communities across Scotland.
Scottish Liberal Democrats have a record of action but promise much more in the years ahead.
Willie has been energetically supporting Council candidates from one end of Scotland to the other since he became leader last May. His enthusiasm for meeting people and finding out what they care about is infectious. Reports from the doorsteps suggest that the mood is much friendlier than it was a year ago.
It’s worth reminding readers that local elections in Scotland are conducted under the Single Transferable Vote system, a measure brought in by the Liberal Democrats when in coalition with Labour at Holyrood.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings