Election17: Education No.1 – Patsy Gowans, Elgin City North

All individual candidates or political groups contesting the forthcoming local council elections in Moray are invited to state their case through the pages of our community news site – contact for submissions is editor@insidemoray.news. Here we have views of Patsy Gowans, SNP candidate for Elgin City North.

IT IS GREAT THAT candidates have a chance to speak to their constituents, so it’s surprising my Conservative opponent used the opportunity entirely to blame Richard Lochhead MSP (who’s not standing) for Stagecoach cutting bus services (for which he’s not responsible).

Frank’s letter to the Northern Scot 3 March (What have the SNP ever done for us?) was another, grim, grey statement, devoid of policy or apology for the state his party left the Council.

Frank doesn’t live in Elgin, he’s supported by an MSP and ex-Councillor who variously resigned or was sacked from the Tory Group on the Council. So, apart from £130 million for flood schemes, A96 dualling, major upgrading of the rail line to provide at least an hourly service, AWPR and A9 Dualling that improve our connectivity and the costs of doing business in Moray, what have the SNP ever done for us!

Well there’s free tuition for students, more nursery places for children, free prescriptions, free personal care for the elderly and measures to reduce the impact of Tory cuts to benefits for those who need them. I could go on but what’s more important is what an SNP led Administration will do for us all.

We will solve the bus problem by studying options for running lifeline bus services directly so no-one is at the mercy of Stagecoach or other commercial operators. Local retailers do you want to lose more business, if not then work with me!

I want to continue my work integrating health and social care services to provide better care for those who need it most, for less – sustainably. By supporting people to live independent lives in their own homes and because we have integrated health and social care and education, we will mainstream mental health care without stigma – “ask once, get help fast”. Health and social care, and affordable housing goes hand in hand.

That’s one reason why Scottish Government has put it in place so we can be preventative and identify needs sooner rather than be reactive! Health and Social Care Integration is one year old but the Board made up of professionals, unpaid carer, public representative and cross party Councillors are committed. Because I believe I have worked tirelessly to deliver!

Scottish Government has funded 3700 new affordable homes in Moray. There is still more to do but work is underway for developments at Findrassie and student accommodation at Bishopmill. Working with the public and private sector to increase social housing and promoting downsizing incentives will help.

The SNP’s number 1 priority is improving education. To attract and develop the brightest and best teachers we will promote video conferencing to provide access to wider educational resources and we will target the £1.27 million additional Scottish Government grant to raising attainment for young people in education and training.

By developing our workforce we develop our economy and wellbeing. Scottish Government invested in Elgin Academy. Investment has been made in Seafield Primary, the results are amazing, I know because I’ve been inside, talked with the Head and the children.

I suggested how to solve a capacity problem. That’s what I do, I don’t moan, I aim to resolve problems, a can do attitude. Sport and leisure links with Education, Health and Social Care, I have been involved in cross-party working aiming to make this sustainable. Imagine our community being devoid of sport and leisure!

I want Moray to be smarter, wealthier, safer, greener, creative, fairer to boost our economy. I’ve worked positively over the past five years to achieve, including cross party work while in opposition. I will talk Moray up. I will talk Scotland up. Like the party I represent I have vision, drive and values. I will not have constant Conservative negativity and lack of vision drag us down.

To make Moray a better place to live, work and do business, contact me at patsy.gowans1@btinternet.com and follow me on Twitter Patsy Gowans@GowansPatsy

And remember, in Elgin North, vote for both SNP candidates, 1 and 2, for a creative, innovative and inclusive new Council.

Other candidates contesting Elgin City North are: Billy Adams (Independent), Frank Brown (Scottish Conservative and Unionist), Sandy Cooper, Paula Coy (SNP) and Nick Taylor (Scottish Labour).