Labour publishes Argyll and Bute manifesto

The Labour party published its Argyll and Bute manifesto on Friday ahead of next month’s local government elections.

The party is fielding five candidates in the 11 Argyll and Bute multi-member wards at the election on Thursday, May 3.

Election agent, Bob Chicken, who is also the party’s candidate in the Kintyre and the Islands ward, said: “We believe that our manifesto achieves these aims for the people of Argyll and Bute.

“If it becomes council policy we know it would make a start at solving the many problems which the current Council has created as well as those which have been thrust upon it by the Scottish and UK governments.

“It is designed to improve the lives of the people of Argyll and Bute and bring open, accountable and strategic governance to the area – qualities which are sadly lacking under the present administration.”

The manifesto states that the party - whose Bute candidate i19-year-old Adam Bellshaw - intends to improve the lives of the young, elderly, vulnerable and working people.

Specific policy commitments include:

* Introducing a minimum pay level - to be known as the Scottish Living Wage (currently £7.20/hr) - for all council employees and those who are employed by council contractors

* Supporting all other employers in Argyll and Bute to meet the Scottish Living Wage

* Campaigning to create one hundred additional council apprenticeships and financial support for five hundred in the private sector, thus taking six hundred young people off the dole.

* Stopping any social care charge increases, pending a full review of the council’s current care charging policies

* The rapid development of a full set of just, fair and transparent criteria for all front line service changes, “so that the 2010 ‘school closures debacle’ can never happen again”

* Removing the log jams which are preventing the building of affordable family housing in our communities

Emphasis is also placed on growing the local economy, creating “an enterprise culture in Argyll and Bute which ensures our greatest export is not our people – to make it a place where people will always find opportunity”. This, the manifesto states, will be achieved by:

* ensuring local business groups have sufficient funding to promote their local areas

* working with other agencies to guarantee that the workforce in Argyll and Bute have excellent opportunities to train and improve themselves

* treating the tourism industry as Argyll’s most important economic driving force

* recognising the huge importance of small business to employment and growth

* fighting for government agencies to be based in Argyll and Bute

* making sure that council contracts are packaged to make it possible for local businesses and social enterprises to tender competitively for them

* continuing to fight for road and ferry links which are fit for purpose, effective for business and meet the needs of all of the people of Argyll and Bute.

To hear more from Labour’s Isle of Bute candidate, and indeed from the other five representatives standing in the local election, put The Buteman’s hustings in your diary – Thursday,April 19 at 7.30pm in The United Church of Bute Centre (former High Kirk).

Entrance is free and there’s no need to submit questions in advance.