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Letters / Time for change

As your Scottish Conservative candidate, I’m here to offer a fresh voice for our islands.

This election is our chance to end a decade of division promoted by the SNP and refocus on the issues that truly matter to you.

The SNP will never take responsibility for their failures after 17 years in Government. The Liberals, despite decades of representation, have proven too small to effect real change.

A vote for Reform may feel tempting, but it only increases the chance of a Labour government who will ignore the priorities of islanders.

My priorities are simple:

1. Infrastructure: I’ll advocate for improving our islands’ infrastructure, making a strong case for UK Government funding to support these vital projects with a focus on delivering tunnels.

2. Fishing communities: I stand firmly against Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) that would devastate our fishing industry – a policy the Greens, SNP, and now even the Liberals support. Unlike Labour, who don’t even mention fishing in their manifesto, I’ll fight to protect our hard won quotas and expand them and oppose any re-entry to the Common Fisheries Policy.

3. Crofting: As the backbone of our rural economy, crofters need support. I’ll fully support my party’s pledge for £1bn additional ring-fenced funding and argue for the multi-year funding requested by the National Farmers Union Scotland. The SNP’s vague Agricultural Bill leaves farmers in limbo – we need better.

4. Energy Sector: I’ll back our oil and gas industry, protecting skilled jobs and energy security as we transition to net zero. While I support the development of renewable energy, I’ll fight to ensure wind farm development is proportional to our area’s needs. Our islands can’t be industrialised to power cities in the central belt. I’ll work to protect our prime fishing grounds and enshrine local democratic consent for new energy projects.

5. Rural NHS: We have a plan to create a local NHS, opposing centralisation and protecting local services. Our commitment to recruit 1,000 more GPs will help reduce waiting lists, while we’ll safeguard NHS funding with a double lock – and reverse the SNP’s cuts.

6. Tax Cuts: You know best how to spend your hard-earned money. We’ve already cut National Insurance twice, giving £900 back to the average worker. We’ll continue these cuts, with the long-term goal of abolishing this double tax on earnings. In Scotland, we’re committed to lowering income tax, in stark contrast to the SNP’s increases.

This election let’s bring the focus back to the issues you care about.

The Scottish Conservatives offer a clear plan and bold action to deliver real change in our islands.

Shane Painter
Scottish Conservative candidate for Orkney and Shetland

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