As postal voting opens, the SNP has today published its manifesto for the Dumfries and Galloway Council elections. The detailed manifesto, which has been compiled by the candidates themselves in consultation with local activists, sets out an ambitious platform of policies that aims to foster a culture of positivity, problem-solving and innovation within Dumfries and Galloway Council.
Among the headline pledges is a commitment to reverse the rise in care charges for disabled people, introduced by the Labour administration last year, and to instigate a sweeping review of all social care charges. Support for community empowerment is reflected in a commitment to introduce community choices budgeting for 1% (more than £3 million) of the Council’s budget which will let local communities directly influence local spending decisions in their areas. Community ownership of land and buildings and adopting an innovative approach to transport and infrastructure improvements are also headline pledges.
Andy Ferguson, SNP Group Leader at Dumfries and Galloway Council, said:
“This is an ambitious manifesto that reflects a sincere desire from all our SNP candidates for Council to transform our region for the better. For too long the Labour and Tory administrations have been talking Dumfries and Galloway down. It’s time that changed.
“The SNP is committing to creating a new culture of positivity, problem solving and a can-do attitude within Dumfries and Galloway Council. We will find solutions to the economic, demographic and rurality challenges that our region faces.
“Our region must become more ambitious and more confident; leading on policy and strategy, lobbying for our share of resources and initiatives and making our region’s voice heard in the corridors of power. It’s time for a better deal for Dumfries and Galloway, and it’s time for change. Our SNP manifesto reflects that ambition.”
The SNP manifesto includes a strong focus on boosting the region’s economy with a commitment to push for a regional growth deal and city status for Dumfries, alongside a promise to invest in our region’s key industries such as tourism and food and drink, and, where possible, to encourage the decentralisation of jobs and economic development support back to local areas.
It also includes ambitious goals for the environment, in particular a target to become Scotland’s most environmentally sustainable region, and possibly Europe’s first carbon neutral region.
Improving opportunities for young people is highlighted, and innovation and flexibility in the way services are delivered, to mitigate against Dumfries and Galloway’s rurality challenges, emerges as a key theme.
The controversy over the Whitesands in Dumfries is addressed too and Ferguson is clear on the approach an SNP Council would take, he added “the SNP put the brakes on Labour’s vanity project and will ensure the public will have the final say on an expanded suite of solutions. It is time for the people who will live with the consequences of this project to be allowed to make the final decision, not 43 Councillors from across the region.”
The regional manifesto has been endorsed by Dumfries and Galloway’s SNP MP and MSPs.
Richard Arkless MP said:
“I know every single SNP council candidate personally and can say with confidence and certainty that they each believe passionately in protecting local services and empowering our communities.
“Our SNP candidates come from all walks of life and many have first-hand experience of working in Dumfries and Galloway’s schools, our social care sector, law enforcement, small businesses, trade union movement and throughout our community. When the people tasked with making decisions about Council budgeting have years of direct experience delivering those important services, you can be sure that the decisions made will be informed and carefully considered, with a commitment to delivering the best value for every pound that is spent. It’s time for a change.”
Joan McAlpine MSP said:
“I am delighted that the manifesto builds on my campaign against the Labour council’s heartless decision to raise care charges for the most vulnerable disabled people in society. As well as reversing the rise, the SNP will review the whole system of care charges, which is great news.
“The manifesto is also ambitious for the whole region, which currently faces so much uncertainty as a result of Brexit’s potential damage to the rural economy. A regional growth deal will help release funds for the whole of D&G, boost economic development and invest in our infrastructure and key industries.”
Emma Harper MSP said:
“I’m delighted to welcome the SNP group’s manifesto – I know that a lot of hard work has gone into putting it together and everyone involved should be congratulated.
“I have already spent time over the last few weeks knocking doors and campaigning with several of our excellent candidates and am pleased to say the reception we are getting has been very positive.
“There is no doubt that an SNP council will be in the best interests of the region, and I look forward to team SNP working together to really benefit the residents of Dumfries and Galloway.”
The full manifesto can be viewed at www.issuu.com/dumfriesgallowaysnp or downloaded from candidate campaign pages on facebook.
Notes for Editors:
A PDF of the SNP Manifesto for Dumfries & Galloway Council Elections 2017 is attached.
Photos of individual candidates are available on request.
A group photo of SNP candidates is likely to be available from Tuesday 18th April.