Earlier this month insideMoray invited all candidates contesting Banffshire and Buchan Coast in the election next week to put their case to our readers in and around Buckie, which is part of that Scottish Parliamentary constituency. Disappointingly, only two responded, and only one submitted an article, which we are pleased to publish below.
DAVID EVANS IS the Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate for Banffshire and Buchan Coast as well as the North East Regional List.
A native of the North East, he has an intimate understanding of the issues that affect the area and wants to see it given the resources and powers to thrive. He is currently employed by Aberdeen City Health and Social Care partnership and is particularly interested in matters relating to health and constitutional law.
Having worked in the public sector since I graduated from the law school of the University of Aberdeen, the protection of public services that affect us all is of paramount importance to me. I care passionately about securing a fair deal for our local authorities in Banffshire and Buchan Coast, who have seen their budgets slashed. Scottish Government cuts to local authority funding put the public services that many among us depend on at risk.
This is a particular concern in rural areas, where greater resources are required to cater for a population with a greater geographical spread. My party would give back to councils the powers to set local domestic and business taxation, and remove the financial penalties used by the present government to exert control.
This will give local councils control of more than 50% of their revenues and give them a real stake in the economic progress of the area. If elected on May 5th I will push for the proper funding of Aberdeenshire and Moray councils to protect our local services.
Local authorities haven’t just seen their budgets slashed, but have seen their powers slowly diminished and centralised in Holyrood. Decisions on council spending, enterprise investment, hospital building projects, police and fire services are now all taken at the centre of government.
I am a firm believer in the principle of devolution, but this needs to go further than Edinburgh. Decisions are best made by the communities they affect and councils need to be given the powers to make these decisions, as well as the resources. I want to see full power of general competence granted to local authorities to allow them to meet the needs of the people they serve.
The loss of local accountability and service is not exclusive to the council; the creation of the single police force has seen local accountability and discretion stripped out of Scottish policing, created by a culture of top down targets.
I want to see traditional Scottish policing by consent restored. The Scottish Liberal Democrats want to remove top down targets from the public sector, and allow our public servants to do what they do best. We would give back the power to set staffing levels and priorities to the Chief Constable, while defining their powers in statute to ensure they are used properly.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats and I want to make Scotland the best again, I want Banffshire and Buchan Coast a better place for our communities and that starts by returning powers to local people and allowing them to make the decisions that affect their lives. Only the Scottish Liberal Democrats are offering this and I hope you will give me your support on May 5th.