Candidates have their say - Aberdeen South and North Kincardine

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In their own words candidates for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine say why they should be elected.

John Waddell, Scottish Liberal Democrats

I’m standing for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine to be a strong voice for our area and to ensure no one is left behind.

I left school with only a few Standard Grades and a C at Higher. My school had a culture of teaching to the test and not to the pupils needs and potential. It meant that I left school unequipped for work or further study.

After a few years I went to college, where they did teach to each student’s needs. Thanks to this second chance, I was able to go to university and on into work.

However, the SNP have reintroduced Standardised Testing and since coming to government in 2007 have cut 152,00 college places. I know first hand these will leave a generation of children and young people behind, poorly equipped to go into work or further study.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats believe everyone deserves the best chance. That is why education is the forefront of our priorities for the next parliament. With your vote, we can make a difference.

We’ve been the strongest opposition to the Scottish Government in this parliament. We stopped the SNP arming the police, opposed the centralisation of public services, held the Government to account on their endless Police Scotland controversies and won the argument to extend free childcare to thousands of extra two year olds.

We did all this with just five MSPs, imagine what we could do with more.

Alison Evison, Scottish Labour

I entered politics, becoming a North Kincardine councillor in 2012, to make a difference. As a teacher and a parent, I could see that we need to change our education system so that all children can have every opportunity to achieve at school and then in their individual path through Further or Higher Education. Many children currently experience barriers to effective learning and Labour’s Fair Start Fund will help to pull these down. I recognise the importance of supporting families with affordable and accessible child-care and the need to value the staff who provide this.

Along with Labour colleagues in the North-East, I will work for a fair deal for NHS Grampian so that the current recruitment problems can be overcome and the best service, including a Trauma Centre, can be delivered to residents. Labour is committed to properly supporting our health and social care employees, including all those who work as home carers.

The crisis in oil and gas is creating huge local challenges, and I want to contribute to a government which recognises the importance of using creative solutions to support a full range of jobs in the North-East. These must be jobs which respect and develop the work-force and which see the end to the exploitative zero-hours contracts which many people, including young workers, currently suffer.

I know our region is crying out for a bold plan to tackle the housing crisis: Labour has listened and, given your support, will act.

Maureen Watt, SNP

As the SNP candidate, I am seeking your support to be re-elected for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine.

The SNP Government has a strong record of delivering for the North East. In response to the fall in oil prices, we are making £1.3 billion of investment to our area, providing funding for the City Deal and major infrastructure projects in Aberdeen City and Shire.

This includes £200m funding for improvements to the rail link between Aberdeen and the Central Belt. I campaigned for the improved rail services to Portlethen, which have led to a 50% increase in passengers through the station.

Working with local groups, the SNP Government provided £60,000 to support the refurbishment of Jubilee Hall in Portlethen.

Nicola Sturgeon has outlined plans for a £30m elective care centre at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, improving access and lowering waiting times for routine operations such as hip replacements, which will benefit patients across the North East.

Under the SNP, prescriptions, higher education and bus travel for older people are all available free to the public. I will continue to back these vital universal services.

We will increase free childcare to 30 hours a week for vulnerable 2 year olds and all 3 and 4 year olds.

The NHS has been supported by record high funding, including £55m of additional funding for NHS Grampian this year. Scotland has the highest ever number of nurses, midwives, consultants and dentists. In the next five years, we will increase NHS Scotland funding by £500m above inflation.

In the last 5 years, we have built over 30,000 new affordable homes, including 20,000 socially rented home. The SNP will build least 50,000 new affordable homes.

To support these improvements to our public services locally and nationally, vote for me on 5th May.

Ross Thomson, Scottish Conservatives

Ross was born and brought up in Aberdeen and was educated at Balmedie Primary School, Bridge of Don Academy and then the University of Aberdeen where he graduated with a first class honours degree in Politics and International Relations.

He was elected to Aberdeen City Council in 2012 and is now Conservative group leader.

He was a candidate for the Gordon constituency in the 2010 general election, stood for the Scottish Parliament at the Donside by-election in 2013 and for the Aberdeen South seat in last year’s general election.

As a councillor, Ross has a strong track record of delivering for his constituents.

He was instrumental in securing council approval for the long-awaited Third Don Crossing in Aberdeen – a project that the ruling Labour group did not want.

Ross has also persuaded transport giant First Aberdeen to maintain vital community bus routes for local residents in the Hazlehead/Ashley/Queen’s Cross ward in Aberdeen.

He has been a leading campaigner against the scourge of legal highs in the city.

Ross also played a key role in lobbying for a UK Government-led £250million City Region Deal for Aberdeen City and Shire. That funding, coupled with tax breaks worth about £1billion to the North Sea oil and gas industry, is helping the region weather one of the most difficult periods in its history.

Ross strongly believes that the north-east economy must diversify to survive post-North Sea oil, and has been a vocal backer of the opportunities available for local energy firms if the SNP were to lift a moratorium on fracking.

The city councillor campaigned passionately during the independence referendum and is strongly opposed to SNP plans for a renewed drive for separation this summer.

The Scottish Conservatives will stand up for the Union and for hard-working families with a commitment that people in Scotland should pay no more in tax than those elsewhere in the UK.