Nicola Sturgeon pledges services focus for SNP in council manifesto 

SNP pledge services national investment in council campaign proposals 

FIRST MINISTER NICOLA STURGEON has tried to move the political focus back on to Scotland’s imminent election across 32 council authorities after a week of campaigning was sidelined by the announcement of a snap General Election. 

Launching a national list of priorities for the local elections, Sturgeon claimed the SNP was best placed to protect services, and empower more local decision making. 

The council election on Thursday May 4 will bring the political diversity of Scotland’s regions to the fore - with different dynamics dominating campaigns from Glasgow to the borders to the Highland and Island communities. 

In 2012 the SNP narrowly defeated the Labour Party, winning 425 seats to Labour’s 394 - although Labour emerged as the biggest party in 16 of Scotland’s 32 councils. 

“All of that is at risk if our council chambers fall into the hands of the Tories, who do not want to use our councils to support our communities.” Nicola Sturgeon 

Sturgeon, marking a launch that pledged funding for childcare, teaching, and housing, said: “The council elections are hugely important for communities across Scotland.
 
“These elections decide who is responsible for running your local services and will determine whether we invest in services or allow the Tories to extend their cuts agenda into the heart of local communities.
 
“SNP candidates are standing on a strong platform to deliver more free childcare, transform early learning, invest in and empower schools, build more affordable housing, devolve power to local communities and continue to support small businesses. SNP councils will work with the Scottish Government to back our headteachers, to boost our town centres and invest in city and regional deals that will support local economies and create jobs.
 
“All of that is at risk if our council chambers fall into the hands of the Tories, who do not want to use our councils to support our communities - but as part of a wider power grab, which Labour and the Lib Dems are unable to stop.”

Read more – Caitlin Logan: Why you really should vote in those boring old council elections next month

But Labour deputy leader Alex Rowley disagreed, insisting that the SNP can not be trusted on public services. He claimed that the SNP was really focused on a future independence referendum: “Instead, she should be focused on the job of governing – getting our schools back on track, stopping closures to our NHS services and working to get more jobs into our communities. 

“Only Labour has a plan to move Scotland forward, not backwards with another divisive referendum. Labour will be focused on delivering quality local services, such as schools, social care and standing up for our NHS.”

In urban areas the Labour party is expected to lose its dominant position in West Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, and Renfrewshire to the SNP. In more rural areas, the Conservatives are in competition to challenge the SNP. The Scottish Greens are aiming to increase their representation, whereas the vast majority of wards in Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Isles are contested by independent candidates. 

Picture courtesy of First Minister of Scotland

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