THE SCOTTISH Greens say that it was thanks to them that Shetland Islands Council received an additional £10.4 million worth of funding over the last session of parliament.
Lead Scottish Greens candidate for the Highland and Islands Ariane Burgess said that under the previous SNP minority government harsh cuts were imposed on local councils, but the Greens were successful in negotiating extra money through deals with the SNP.
“Scottish Greens MSPs were able to negotiate millions more in funding for Shetland,” she said.
“This is not just a number on a spread sheet. It is real money and has meant extra funding for frontline jobs and the vital services that people rely on every day.
Other parties have been happy to criticise from the side lines, but we have worked hard to protect and support services like education, social care, and local transport in Shetland.
“In the last budget, Scottish Green MSPs secured Covid relief payments for 500,000 families, free school meals for all primary school pupils and free bus travel for everyone under 22.”
CITING figures released through a Freedom of Information request more than two years ago, which show that local boats are disproportionally often boarded by fisheries inspectors, Restore Scotland candidate Brian Nugent has said the Scottish Government was playing “hard ball” against its own industry.
He said one would expect a government to support local industry, but that is not what is happening with fishing.
“Rules should be applied evenly, the figures would say otherwise. The question is why? He asked.
“Is the SNP’s absolute determination to get back into the EU clouding their judgement in trying to keep the EU sweet for an EU application to join at some point?
“This might also be behind letting Pesorsa Dos sail away when Marine Scotland should have detained the boat. Pesorsa Dos is back in Shetland waters fishing to the West of Shetland.
“SNP candidate Tom Wills suggests that Marine Scotland have got some explaining to do; sounds like the explanations should come from higher up in government circles.”
Labour has pledged to help every person aged 75 and over in Scotland to pay their TV licence, supporting 2,135 people in Shetland.
If elected, the party will be establishing a ‘Staying Connected’ fund offering grants to every household with someone aged 75 and over, up to the current £159 value of the TV licence, to go towards either paying their licence fee or other digital connectivity bills.
Local candidate Martin Kerr said he was proud to be standing on a platform to support older people in Shetland.
“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of TV and broadband to bring people together, even while we’ve been separated in our homes,” he said.
“Rather than going back to the old arguments, Scottish Labour under Anas Sarwar has a vision for a stronger, fairer nation, starting with support for older people and reversing the trend of pensioner poverty.”
SNP candidate Tom Wills meanwhile will be holding a series of ‘Meet your Candidate’ events via Zoom as listed below.
To register, folk can email Wills at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling or sending a message to 07471 212361.
“I can also do individual calls with anyone who does not have access to Zoom,” he said.
LIBERAL Democrat candidate Beatrice Wishart says she will oppose any potential centralisation plans for NHS Shetland following the publication of the SNP manifesto which referred to a “review the number, structure and regulation of health boards”.
Wishart said: “Delivering good-quality health and care services in our islands to a population that is living longer but with more complex conditions presents enormous challenges. Those challenges are not tackled by mashing health boards together and hope they work better
“While deeply concerning, these plans are in keeping with a party that has a track record of centralising services away from our island communities.
“The last time the SNP attempted to ‘examine the number’ of health boards they were met with strong local opposition, and I stand firm against any dilution of local control on local healthcare delivery.”
The Scottish Parliament elections take place on 6 May. There are six candidates contesting the Shetland seat. They are in alphabetical order: Martin Kerr (Labour), Brian Nugent (Restore Scotland); Peter Tait (Independent), Nick Tulloch (Conservatives), Tom Wills (SNP) and Beatrice Wishart (Liberal Democrats).
To find out more about all of the candidates standing in the election, including those on the regional Highlands and Islands list, visit our Scottish Parliament election 2021 page below.
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