Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What have Scottish Liberal Democrat Councillors done for you?

This isn't an exhaustive list, but it showcases some of the excellent achievements of Liberal Democrat councillors in administration across Scotland over the last five years.

Scottish Liberal Democrats are part of 13 coalition administrations across Scotland.

This includes running the big councils of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh and the Highlands.

We also help control Fife, Perth and Kinross, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire and Borders.

Over 150 councillors have a strong record of delivering for their local communities.

Over the last five years Scottish Liberal Democrat councillors have delivered for local communities across Scotland, including:

-          Edinburgh – 30% reduction in crime through focussing on community neighbourhood policing, the Edinburgh Guarantee helping young people back to work, building a better future for our capital.
-          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 & Kinross – building the first council houses in a generation and the 1st 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 – Lib Dems have brought the budget back from the cliff face 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.
This is a record we can be proud of. Particularly in the likes of Aberdeen and Edinburgh where Labour had done what they did at UK level, and left a right financial bourach. Jenny Dawe wrote about that on Liberal Democrat Voice a while back. As soon as she took office as leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, she was taken aside and told that there was, in Council terms, next to nothing in the reserves. Under her stewardship, finances have been restored to a healthy level. It all goes to show that, as we've shown at UK level, we don't run away and hide and sit on our hands when confronted with difficult situations. 

Liberal Democrats see this election as a chance to deliver more for local communities, unlike the SNP. Allison Hunter, SNP Leader in Glasgow, recently confirmed what we've always thought - that "everything the SNP does, is, of course, a stepping stone towards independence".

Nick Clegg wrote in this week's Sunday Times, and sadly, this doesn't seem to be available online, about how the SNP duck out of big, controversial decisions wherever they can. They've certainly been less than helpful in Edinburgh on the trams, although they did vote for them in the end. He wrote:
We also know from experience that if the choices facing the SNP do not fit in with that separatist agenda, they walk away rather than face up to their responsibility as elected representatives. In Aberdeen they refused to reorganise local schools and build necessary new ones - it was too difficult. In the Highlands, the SNP refused to take the necessary steps that led to more than £4 million being reinvested in public services. It was the same in Edinburgh when they turned their back on a new model for service delivery that would protect local services and in Argyll and Bute they didn't have the bottle to even consider important decisions.
For the SNP, independence is more important than home helps in Aberdeen, or school children in Inverness or the jobless in Edinburgh. I don't think any service or council should be used as a stepping stone towards independence.
The SNP are going all out for majority control on councils - but voters, having seen what they're like with majority control at Holyrood, might well be more cautious about choosing them. In the run up to the Scottish Parliament elections last year, they said virtually nothing about independence. Since they got their majority they've gone on about virtually nothing else. They have, against the advice of much of Scottish civic society and every other party at Holyrood, put through an unenforceable, illiberal, ineffective Sectarian Bill. They have  gone against the spirit of what they said in their manifesto (which suggested 3 or 4 Police forces) and decided to merge Scotland's 8 Police forces into a single force which gives way too much power to the Justice Secretary. And their First Minister has cultivated a rather worrying relationship with Rupert Murdoch. Willie Rennie took him to task on this last month and the normally blustering First Minster was literally flailing because he knew he didn't have a defence.

Liberal Democrat councillors and candidates are truly local champions, from Eileen McCartin in Renfrewshire to   Rick Kenney in Galashiels to Nick Noble in Thurso,  Angela McLean in Conon Bridge and Iris Walker and William Sell in Aberdeenshire. Peter Barrett in Perth and Kinross and Paul Edie in Edinburgh and Tim Brett in Fife have between them slashed crime and homelessness and vastly improved social care, making services better and more responsive to individual need. 

That's what Liberal Democrats do and is what we offer across Scotland on May 3rd. 

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