Scottish Party Leaders In Final Plea To Voters Ahead Of Council Elections

3 May 2017, 06:36

General Election

Party leaders are making their final pitch to voters ahead of Scotland's council elections.

Voters across all 32 local authority areas will go to the polls to choose who will represent them.

The vote takes place just five weeks before the General Election - but also coincides with the 10th anniversary of the SNP winning power at Holyrood.

Politicians from all parties stressed the important role councils play as they urged Scots to use their vote.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said: "Councils have a key role in driving our economy, building and protecting our communities and providing vital local services.

"Tomorrow's vote is about choosing who is best placed to take decisions about the future of our communities.

"We know that Labour have for far too long put their own interests before those of the people they represent, while the Tories are intent on a damaging cuts agenda, while proposing no positive policies in this election.''

She pledged: "SNP councils will work tirelessly to boost the economy, support families and improve and protect vital local services.

"We are committed to transforming early learning, giving more money to schools, building affordable housing, injecting cash into our local communities and backing small businesses.''

But she warned: "All of that is at risk if our council chambers fall into the hands of the Tories.''

The Scottish Tories are gearing up for a last campaign push ahead of Thursday's council elections.

Scottish leader Ruth Davidson said: "With 24 hours to go until we vote in the local elections, our message is simple.

"Politics is about priorities and it is time for councillors across Scotland who will prioritise your school and your local services - not a second referendum.

"Every Scottish Conservative councillor elected on Thursday can be trusted to put the day job first.

"We ask people across Scotland for the chance to serve.''

Meanwhile Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said a vote for her party would be a vote for a "local champion who will protect local services from the Tory and SNP cuts''.

She urged Scots to use the council election to send a message both to the SNP Scottish Government and the Tory administration at Westminster.

Ms Dugdale said: "On Thursday send the Tories a message - tell them that Scotland does not want their austerity.

"And send Nicola Sturgeon a message as well.

"Tell her to abandon her plan for another divisive referendum and get on with the day job.

"You can protest against the Tories and protest against plans for a second referendum on Thursday with one vote.

"By voting Labour and in return, you'll get a local champion for your community.''

Andy Wightman MSP, the local government spokesman for the Scottish Greens, said: "Green councillors will ensure neighbourhoods can make real choices about the services they want and how to pay for them.

"After decades of centralisation, local democracy hangs in the balance.

"More Green councillors are sorely needed to help return power to local level.

"Number one votes for Green candidates on Thursday will elect advocates of real local democracy, people who understand that local services and accountability matter.''

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said that Scots faced a "simple choice'' at the ballot box on Thursday between "SNP cheerleaders'' and "true local champions''

He told voters his party would "fix the potholes on your roads, put education as a priority and make sure our local services are well funded'' and unlike the SNP and Greens would "put local communities first, not another divisive independence referendum''.

Mr Rennie said: "As we mark 10 years since the SNP came into power it's important for people to judge their record.

"A failing education system, a mental health strategy that has been allowed to rot and an economy on the brink of recession.

"While the SNP have been fixated on their own ambitions of independence they have let Scotland fall behind.

"Every Liberal Democrat councillor elected will be that local champion that communities across Scotland need to help fix the damage that the SNP have inflicted.''