In Scottish Labour we are reflecting on what was a hugely disappointing result in the UK General Election.
It was disappointing also for millions of people on low incomes and for those working and reliant on our public services, as the Conservatives austerity plans will hit these groups in particular.
But Scottish Labour still has a job to do and the focus now turns to the holding this new majority Conservative Government to account and building towards the Scottish Parliamentary Elections being held next year.
In the North East, one of the most important aspects on which the new Government must deliver is the plan for a city region deal for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
We have seen our councils make a strong case for the deal and it was accepted by the previous UK Government.
We must ensure that this does not fall off the agenda now that they Conservatives have a majority and this means Scottish Government support for the city region deal is more important than ever. I will be working with council colleagues to make sure that this is the case and also pressing Scottish Government Ministers to provide their support.
No-one can deny the success the SNP had in this General Election and that they attracted huge support. But in the Scottish Parliament next year there will be far more opportunity to scrutinise their record in Government. We know that when it comes to investment here in the North East that record is poor.
For too long we have faced massive underfunding of our local services with our local authorities amongst the worst funded in Scotland. This cannot continue to be the case and we will continue to highlight the SNP’s record on this and make the case for better funding settlements for our local authorities. We also need action on the funding of our NHS and support for NHS Grampian going forward ensuring that they can attract the staff they need to improve services and reduce waiting times. For too long our NHS has had to suffer raw deals on funding and the SNP must be held to account for this.
Scottish Labour believes in a strong economy for the North East and a fairer deal for our public services. That is the message we will seek to get across over the next year. We are under no illusions of the scale of the task ahead of us but it is a challenge we will meet.