Election 2016: Potholes and state of roads is main Moray concern

Douglas Ross
Douglas Ross

Whether it was luck or good judgement by the editor of insideMoray when allocating the day each representative would write for the site it has worked out well.

The Green’s had their article the day after their manifesto launch and now I get the opportunity to pen an article the day after the Scottish Conservative manifesto launch.

I’ll go into some of the main subjects in the manifesto later but I want to pick up on one of the replies made to my column last week.

Heather MacKay was right to ask what politicians would do about the state of the roads. To save filling her timeline with my response I thought I would concentrate on the subject in today’s article.

Scottish Conservatives volunteers and I have been going around Moray speaking with people and doing a local survey. By some margin the most common complaint has been about potholes and the state of the roads. So what will we do?

I’m delighted to confirm that the Scottish Conservatives have pledged £100m over the term of the next Parliament specifically for Local Authorities to spend on repairing potholes through a Roads Maintenance Fund.

This fund is a win-win for councils who will receive cash to spend solely on repairing potholes and will also save money as better roads will see a reduction in compensation pay-outs.

A recent survey revealed 80% of Scottish drivers had swerved to avoid potholes, higher than the overall UK average. This fund will repair over two million potholes over the five-year Parliament. It won’t eradicate the problem but I think it’s a positive plan and hopefully gives Heather and others some reassurance that the issue is being tackled.

Back to the manifesto and Ruth Davidson set out a strong plan for her team in the next Parliament. The more votes we can get on both the purple and peach ballot papers on the 5th May the larger the team of Scottish Conservatives MSPs that could propel Ruth into the role as Leader of the opposition.

Ruth is ready to serve in that role and her manifesto is one which I believe a lot of people can support. You can view the entire document at http://www.scottishconservatives.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Scottish-Conservative-Manifesto_2016-DIGITAL.pdf

Looking at some of the main areas of the manifesto we will: –

  • Build the case for fair and competitive income taxes in Scotland to ensure people in Scotland don’t pay higher taxes than elsewhere in the UK.
  • Demand that NHS funding is increased by 2%, inflation or Barnett Consequentials – whichever is higher. This will mean a cash terms NHS increase of £1.5bn per year by 2021.
  • Provide more support for training and skills by increasing the number of apprenticeships and skills academies.
  • Immediately call for the repeal of the Named Persons law and divert funds from this to a new Crisis Family Fund – to support projects across Scotland which offer early intervention.
  • On childcare we will push the case for offering more hours to 1 and 2 year olds, particularly those from deprived communities. We will argue for a flexible system that allows parents to use their childcare entitlement as they wish to fit in with their needs.
  • We need to use the new Scotland Act powers responsibly and with a clear purpose. Our taxes should be competitive and fair and help boost employment across Scotland. Our welfare system should support the most vulnerable and help those who want to work find employment through ongoing support.
  • We will support our police officers by pushing for the introduction of another level of anti-social behaviour penalty for more serious offences.
  • Build 100,000 new homes and rebuild empty properties to increase the number of homes available and focus on supply rather than demand.
  • With over a third of household struggling to heat their homes, we will make the case for significant investment in energy efficiency across Scotland.

These are just some of our proposals for Scotland over the next five years covering areas of health, education, employment, justice and so much more.

We will continue to fight for rural communities and stand up for our farmers let down by the SNP government. We want to see improved connectivity with respect to our roads and phone signals and broadband connections.

And finally for some this election is almost over. In thousands of homes across Moray today ballot papers are dropping through the letter boxes of postal voters.

I hope I have done enough to get the support of people in Moray to be a strong voice for our area in Holyrood and that Ruth Davidson has secured your support on the Regional ballot paper.

All Moray candidates in the 2016 Parliamentary Election plus list candidates for the Green Party and an Independent were invited to submit their views on one day each week until Friday, April 29 – they will then be invited to sum-up their cases on Sunday, May 1 in a final address on insideMoray before the election.

Candidates for the Banffshire and Buchan constituency that includes part of Moray around Buckie have also been invited to submit their views – two accepted, two did not reply – and none have actually submitted any article.