Election17: Internet Essential – Dave Bremner, Fochabers/Lhanbryde

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 Dave Bremner, SNP candidate for Fochabers/Lhanbryde .

I AM DELIGHTED to have been selected to represent the SNP in the Fochabers and Lhanbryde ward, following in the footsteps of Margo Howe, who has worked hard for our community and is now looking forward to a well-earned retirement.

From my own experience as a small business owner trading globally to both individual customers and businesses since 1997 I know that the challenges that inevitably arise can be daunting. One of the principal challenges in our rural location is connectivity, which in both physical & digital forms is essential.

It was for this reason that in 2004 I ran the petition to BT that resulted in the Spey Bay exchange being upgraded from dial-up internet access to the first generation of broadband in June 2005, one of the earliest small rural exchanges in our area to benefit.

The situation across the entire ward today is almost complete fibre provision, and although there are occasional teething troubles with some providers, and a technical solution is still required for one remaining area, these are also being actively worked on.

We are all aware how essential internet access now is, both for business and domestic users and the implementation of fibre is of course good news, however, it is essential that we don’t view it as an endpoint.

As advances in technology and increased speed become available we must ensure that our area benefits from these to maintain competitiveness, to continue to attract business and investment, creating an environment conducive to increasing employment, and help to underpin The Moray Economic Strategy.

On physical connectivity, I am particularly pleased to be representing a party which delivered the Fochabers & Mosstodloch bypass, and is now investing in the dualling of the A9, Aberdeen peripheral route, well advanced plans for the A96 dualling, as well as a new station at Dalcross, improvements to the Aberdeen to Inverness rail line, and more recently the start of plans to improve the A95.

All of these will have a direct economic and social benefit for our area, and I, and the rest of the SNP group, are committed to maximising their benefits for Moray.

Of course the infrastructure the Council is responsible for also takes other forms such as schools, housing, and sports & leisure facilities, and I will be delighted to play a part in their guardianship, ensuring the ongoing delivery of the Scottish Government’s program which has so far delivered 3700 affordable homes in Moray, a schools program which has seen three new high schools built or in the process of being built, and five primary schools built or extensively refurbished, with another entirely new primary school at an advanced planning stage.

On a community level I look forward to representing all constituents, and helping local bodies achieve their ambitions for their areas through delivery of transformational policies such as the wide ranging Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act.

So far during the election campaign we’ve knocked at the doors of over 2000 registered voters in the Lhanbryde & Fochabers ward, and one of the things we’ve been hearing is the view that ‘nobody listens and nothing ever changes’.

We aim to change that, and on May 4 you will have the option to vote SNP 1 & 2 to complete an SNP group who have a wide ranging set of skills and experience, which can provide fresh ideas and direction to Moray Council, which I would count myself privileged to be part of.

Also contesting the Fochabers/Lhanbryde ward on May 4: Donald Cameron (Scottish Lib Dem), Kenneth Gillespie (Independent), Peter Horton (Scottish Lib Dem), Marc Macrae (Scottish Conservative and Unionist), Shona Morrison (SNP), Sean Morton, Ian Taylor (Independent)