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Election / Campaign round-up – 19 April 2021

SNP candidate Tom Wills.

SNP candidate Tom Wills claims his party’s manifesto is “packed full of measures that will benefit Shetland”.

He highlighted commitments such as free music lessons in schools, investment in the recovery of tourism from the pandemic and a £20 million rural entrepreneur fund as examples which will have “special value” to Shetland.

The SNP also pledge to invest more in schools, mental health services and the NHS frontline.

“Putting our manifesto into practice is going to be a lot of work, and we need everyone’s support to get it off the ground. Every vote counts,” Wills said.

“Please give both your votes to SNP, to ensure we have the democratic support to deliver on our manifesto commitments.”

THE SCOTTISH Liberal Democrats have pledged to extend free early learning and childcare, close the poverty-related attainment gap and help parents who want to return to work.

The party is reaching out to people who have voted SNP with this “bold package of support”.

The party’s manifesto includes plans to increase the 1,140 hours entitlement to cover all two-year-olds.

Party leader Willie Rennie commented: “I want to put recovery first to close the attainment gap and help children bounce back from the disruption to their learning.

“Thanks to the Scottish Liberal Democrats two-year-olds from poorer backgrounds are already entitled to funded childcare. This should help improve their chances, but uptake in Scotland is only half what it is in England.”

Scottish Greens Highlands and Islands lead candidate Ariane Burgess.

THE SCOTTISH Greens’ lead candidate for Highland and Islands vote has called for a new deal for Scotland’s wind energy supply to meet future demand for electricity as fossil fuels are phased out.

Ariane Burgess said her party’s manifesto pledges to replace existing onshore wind turbines with newer, more powerful models.

The Greens say they will also encourage at least 20 per cent of new wind farms to be owned by the community.

Burgess said: “Renewable energy is absolutely critical to meeting climate targets and ensuring our survival.

“As we shift to electric transport and heating solutions, the demand will grow and so must the onshore wind sector. That’s why the Scottish Greens are proposing a new deal for wind energy to encourage the sector to upgrade existing turbines and expand

“We would ensure that the Scottish supply chain is protected, which could create new jobs in Shetland in the process.”

Conservative candidiate Nick Tulloch.

THE SCOTTISH Conservatives say they would work with the UK Government to make it “illegal to charge higher costs when posting to remote and rural parts of Scotland”.

Their election manifesto said: “The Scottish Conservatives believe that we should do all that we can to remove geographic discrimination across Scotland.

“We have long campaigned against households and businesses in remote and rural parts of Scotland having to pay higher delivery charges.”.

The party also said it would connect every single home and business property in Scotland to full fibre broadband by 2027.

SNP candidate Tom Wills has clarified his position in the ongoing controversy over the activities of European gill-netters in the waters to the west of Shetland.

For many years the local whitefish fleet have been complaining that they are being pushed out of their traditional fishing grounds by miles of gill nets set in the area.

They also say that local boats are being “harassed” by Marine Scotland inspectors while foreign owned vessel are not being inspected as regular as they are.

Wills said: “I support the SFA’s [Shetland Fishermen’s Association] calls for legislation that bans (or greatly restricts) gill netters from operating in the waters around Shetland.

“Gill netting is an indiscriminate fishery which is preventing local boats from fishing in their traditional grounds.”

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 Scottish Parliament election 2021 page below.