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Election / Campaign round-up 21 April 2021

Scottish Greens Highlands and Islands lead candidate Ariane Burgess.

THE SCOTTISH Greens have clarified their stance on Viking Energy and other wind farms planned for Shetland after pledging to double the size of the industry as fossil fuels are phased out.

However, any developments in Shetland should only go ahead with the full support of local people and within a greatly empowered community context, the party said.

Lead candidate for the Scottish Greens in the Highlands and Islands Ariane Burgess said communities needed to be equipped with the powers to investigate their own development needs.

“We also want to ensure meaningful public engagement in planning. We will continue to support communities having the right to appeal, but until that happens, we will demand improvements to public engagement at every stage,” she said.

“If there were to be any further onshore wind developments in Shetland, they must be of the right scale and provide direct benefit to the surrounding communities.

“Communities should take ownership of projects where possible and discounted energy deals offered to communities. We would also require all contracts to source at least 70 per cent of the onshore wind supply chain from Scottish business.”

Local Greens coordinator and regional list candidate Debra Nicolson said: “The Viking Energy project has been controversial precisely because local people have not felt consulted throughout and have questioned the scale, motivation and environmental impact of the project.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Beatrice Wishart

LIBERAL Democrat candidate Beatrice Wishart says eradicating fuel poverty is essential in Shetland’s recovery from Covid.

Recent data confirmed that over one in five households (22 per cent) in Shetland are classed as being in extreme fuel poverty. This figure is joint second worst across the whole of Scotland.

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Proposals announced by the Lib Dems include to declare home insulation a national strategic priority, double fuel poverty budgets and increase incentives for all homes.

It is estimated that their zero carbon homes strategy would create 34,000 jobs in energy efficiency and upgrade 80,000 homes per year over the next five years.

“Eradicating fuel poverty completely is a goal that the next government must commit to,” Wishart said. “Leaving anyone having to decide between heating and eating is a failure.

“We have seen how long and cold winters can be in Shetland and if re-elected I will make sure there is a needle-sharp focus with our recovery on tackling fuel poverty so people in Shetland are not choosing between a warm home or a warm meal.”

SNP candidate Tom Wills

SNP candidate Tom Wills has welcomed his party’s commitment to support the mental health of young Shetlanders and to ensure that they can participate in European exchanges.

“Over the past year, the pandemic has seriously disrupted study and career plans for our senior school pupils and students. The SNP is determined to do everything possible to make sure this disruption is temporary and to improve support for students, both financially and otherwise,” he said.

“I’m particularly pleased to see the first minister’s plan to take action on mental health services for students. This crisis has hit school, college and university students very hard and we do need to reduce waiting times for assessment and treatment.”

He added: “We are guaranteeing that the education maintenance allowance and free university tuition will be continued and that after 6 May, we will create a scheme to (at least in part) replace the Erasmus programme that we lost when Boris Johnson wrenched us out of Europe against our will.

“As a former Erasmus student myself, and before that as an Anderson High School participant in the Global Classroom, I know how important these educational exchanges with other European countries have been to hundreds of young Shetlanders over the years.

“It’s absolutely right that we do everything we can to provide similar opportunities for the next generation.”

Restore Scotland candidate Brian Nugent.

RESTORE Scotland candidate in Shetland Brian Nugent said that he voted ‘leave’ in 2016 Brexit referendum for two reasons – one was because of fishing, and the other because of the undemocratic nature of the European Union.

Nugent said this was highlighted in an interview between Cecilia Malstrom, the then EU commissioner for trade, and John Hilary, the then executive director of War on Want.

Cecilia Malstrom said: “I do not take my mandate from the European people’, which does beg the question, who was she answerable to?

“Maelstrom later denied saying this, John Hilary stood by his reporting of the interview,” Nugent said.

“There is a political project running in the background of the EU which is about setting up the United States of Europe, but the last people who will find out about it are the people who live in the EU.”

STUC Highlands and Islands candidate Sean Robertson

LAUNCHING their election manifesto in Glasgow on Wednesday (today), the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition said it was the only pro-independence socialist option on the ballot paper on 6 May.

Scottish TUSC are standing in a number of constituencies including the Highlands and Islands regional list.

“Our candidates are workers, trade union leaders, young people fighting for a future and women who are leading campaigners against violence against women,” the party said.

“We are standing on a platform of demanding a socialist recovery from the Covid pandemic.

“No return to austerity and cuts, an increase in the minimum wage to £12 an hour, the building of 100,000 council homes for rent by 2026, the public ownership of trains, buses and public transport and a massive job creation programme to be paid for by taxing the rich and seizing the uninvested profits of business.”

“IF WE want to save the world, we need to end violence against women”, independent regional list candidate Hazel Mansfield has said.

Mansfield said she hopes to drive forward action on climate change mitigation by Ending Violence Against Women “as this will change the democratic balance to 50 men for every 50 women in political office”.

“Over ten years of research on parity sovereignty show that it is increasingly urgent to End Violence Against Women; all the sources say the same thing.”

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 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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