WE enter this election in this constituency with an unemployment crisis. Joblessness in Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley is higher than the Scottish and UK average and the gap is getting wider.
More than one in three of all out of work men are 18 to 24-year-olds. This proportion is rising and is way above the Scottish average.
That’s why Labour’s plans for a national jobs fund to help unemployed youngsters get the chance of a real job will make a difference locally. The guaranteed right to an apprenticeship for all those who are qualified and want one will help us build for the future and bring hope in place of fear.
Labour’s policy for industry with a strategy for manufacturing will generate employment in the Carrick economy. And the defence of public services is critical in this community where almost half of the entire working population is employed in the public sector.
I’m campaigning for jobs and economic regeneration as my number one priority. That means ensuring we get the investment promised in the regeneration of the centre of Girvan, but making sure that more investment follows.
And it means making sure that, at long last, we see work starting on the Maybole by-pass. It means investment in affordable housing too, to meet local demand by looking at how South Ayrshire Council, housing associations and co-operatives can increase supply.
And it means tougher community benefit clauses for wind farm developers and the promotion of common ownership. I’ll be continuing to campaign for locally-delivered publicly-owned public services. As a trade union organiser, I know the hard work and public service ethos of people delivering public services.
That’s why the five-year pay freeze proposed in this election by the SNP to thousands of workers locally is not only morally wrong – why should nurses and teachers pay for the banking crisis – it will also send the economy into reverse at the very time we need to move it forward. On this and all the key issues we face, only Labour will stand up for working people, including those in retirement.
With the Tories back in power we need to fight injustice but we need to have confidence that, by our own endeavour, we can build a fairer, more equal society.
I have been privileged to represent working people locally for many years at workplaces like Grant’s and Nestle as a union organiser. I now seek the chance to represent and work with this community in the Scottish Parliament.
I am not a career politician. My goal in politics is not to secure a transfer of power from one parliament and one set of politicians to another, but to transfer it from those who happen to own the world’s wealth to those who create it.
I believe that even in these most adverse times, we can make a difference. I seek your support in that noble task.