IN 2007, the people of Scotland elected an SNP government for the first time. In the four years that have followed we have made real progress in making a positive difference to the lives of people here in Carrick and across the country.
Policies such as freezing the council tax and abolishing prescription charges have helped ease the squeeze on household budgets at a time of recession and rising prices. Our pledge to recruit 1,000 more police has helped drive crime levels to a 32-year low, and our record number of modern apprenticeships and small business bonus scheme has helped thousands more Scots into work.
One of the first actions the SNP government took was to overturn the previous Labour administration’s decision to close the A&E at Ayr Hospital.
Closing the unit flew in the face of local opinion and the advice of many health professionals. We have made a series of investments in the NHS, both locally and nationally, including opening Girvan Community Hospital, halving in-patient waiting times in Ayrshire and Arran, reducing the average waiting time for cancer patients and increasing the number of doctors, nurses, dentists and cleaners.
We have built the first council houses in a generation; increased free personal care and maintained free bus travel for the over 60s; extended nursery provision and taken class sizes to a record low; and established a fund to help re-generate communities.
Girvan is one of many towns which had suffered badly, but now its future is looking significantly brighter thanks to a revitalised partnership approach between South Ayrshire Council and the local community, supported by the Scottish Government. Funding has been secured for a multi-purpose community facility, including a new swimming pool to serve Girvan and the wider South Carrick area and work has already been done to enhance the general environment of the harbour and beachfront area.
Our Cashback for Communities scheme, which seizes money from criminals to put back into our communities, has also directly benefited many local groups. Our record in Government is a proud one, but there is so much more we want to achieve.
If re-elected the SNP Government will:
nBuild 5,000 new council houses.
nGenerate 22,000 jobs in Scotland’s low carbon industries.
nFund 25,000 modern apprenticeships each year.
Freeze council tax for a further five years and freeze water charges for two years.
nProtect the NHS budget.
nMaintain police numbers.
nOppose tuition fees for Higher Education.
If elected, I will, hopefully, be part of the next SNP Government, and will work to ensure that Scotland’s government delivers for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley.