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Election letters 2019 / Major issues that need to be addressed

Having been on the campaign trail for the past four weeks it has been very inspiring to hear the views of so many people and to receive so many calls, messages and emails – I’m overwhelmed by the level of support; and there’s clearly a job to be done.

The climate emergency, lack of affordable housing, a planning service that’s not fit for purpose and does not provide a service that people need or want, and concerns over how we can provide enough energy to “keep the lights on” in five years’ time when the Lerwick diesel power station becomes obsolete, have all been areas of much discussion during the campaign, however it is clear that improving public transport and the importance of a good reliable broadband service are also major issues of concern to many.

We need to look at ways we can vastly improve our public transport service – people have been telling me of the problems they have getting to and from work and the airport, many young people have been in touch explaining they can’t visit their pals or go to clubs, while another explained about having to arrive two hours before a doctor’s appointment and then having to wait four hours to get the next bus home.

There have been several suggestions that the car parking charges should be used to subsidise a proper airport shuttle bus service and that the buses currently being used are too big and too infrequent – clearly public transport is a major issue that is affecting many people and needs to be addressed.

The importance of having a reliable broadband service that allows people and businesses to communicate effectively has been highlighted as another area of concern to many people and businesses.

The use of the internet to do business is so important to the success of Shetland’s economy and allows people to remain living and working in Shetland.

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I have first-hand experience of this – I recently completed a two year contract working for Stirling Council building standards/control service where I processed their building warrant applications completely remotely, from my home here in Shetland – the arrangement worked well for Stirling Council and allowed me to remain living and working in Shetland, a prime example of the need for a reliable broadband service to benefit of individuals, businesses and the local economy.

So, here is my pledge to the voters of Shetland Central: –

“Within the first month of being elected, and as part of a larger SNP group on the council, I will approach the relevant Scottish ministers with my planning and housing concerns and will encourage positive engagement in general with ministers on other matters such as improving our public transport, high speed broadband connectivity, NorthLink ferry fares, and airport car parking charges – I will take Shetland Centrals case to the heart of government”.

 If you elect me on Thursday 7 November, I will get straight to work making Shetland Central a better place to live and work – I will be your voice on Shetland Islands Council.

Together, let’s realise my vision of a smarter council that works for, rather than against the people of Shetland Central – please vote for me on 7 November!

Stewart Douglas
Candidate for Shetland Central By-election

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