Election17: Teaching Concerns – Paula Coy, 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 Paula Coy, SNP candidate for Elgin City North.

I live in Elgin with my husband and ten year old daughter and have two grown up daughters with families of their own who live locally too.

Originally from East Kilbride, near Glasgow, I moved to Elgin 30 years ago and it is now very much my home. I am delighted to be standing as an SNP candidate for Elgin North in the local elections in May.

First of all, I want you to know that I’m one of you. All the services so precious to you are precious to me for the very same reasons. Before meeting my husband, Gav, I was a single-parent; I worked full time on just above minimum wage and relied on working tax credits to support my two eldest daughters.

I know what it’s like to live month to month, I know the importance of affordable childcare, I know the importance of affordable and social housing, and I am an avid supporter of the living wage. Women and children are substantially more likely to be affected by low pay, add to this the adverse effects of Westminster’s welfare reform measures, and that Moray has one of the highest proportions of low paid workers in Scotland – encouraging local employers to become living wage accredited is vital to address child poverty in our area.

I’ve seen first-hand in my work with vulnerable children and young people how poverty can wreck lives. Children who are born poor are more likely to stay poor. This is why I was so delighted to see the Pupil Equity Funding provided by the Scottish Government. Moray schools are to receive £1,270,800 which is to help bridge the gap in academic attainment between our poorest children and those from wealthier backgrounds.

While this money is to be provided to head teachers of individual schools, if elected I will provide any support to them I can because making sure all children in Moray reach their full potential should be everyone’s top priority.

We all know that our schools are struggling for teachers, which is really concerning, and I doubt there is a parent in Moray who has not had a child affected by teacher shortages. We need to work hard to develop and support new teacher training opportunities and new ways of attracting teachers to Moray, as well as to explore more ways to ‘grow our own’.

If elected on May 4, I’m keen to press for continued promotion of Moray’s Voluntary Downsizing Scheme where tenants in local authority housing are provided with grants and support to downsize their property, freeing up larger properties for families. . I am very proud that, thanks to the Scottish Government, no one in Scotland pays the hated “Bedroom Tax”, but providing financial and practical support to those who do choose to downsize, on an entirely voluntary basis, is hugely beneficial.

Everyone knows that we have a significant shortage of council housing, but thanks to the Scottish Government local authorities are building social housing again and I know that many families have benefitted. You can be sure that an SNP led Moray Council will work closely with the Scottish Government to deliver more new social and affordable homes in communities across Moray.

I’ve read a lot of comments on insideMoray, many of them saying that local elections shouldn’t be party political, that candidates should all be independent. In Moray, we’ve had a Tory/Independent administration in Moray Council for a decade now and it’s time for a change.

Other parties may chose to fight this Council election on independence and referenda. Well, the only focus of the thirteen SNP candidates is to provide a strong, unified team, dedicated to fighting for the services that are important to all of us. Difficult choices may have to be made going forward, but those choices will be made with the needs of the people of Moray at the forefront of our minds.

In Elgin City North please vote SNP 1 and 2 to help us change Moray Council for the better.

Also contesting the Elgin City North ward: Billy Adams (Independent), Frank Brown (Scottish Conservative and Unionist), Sandy Cooper, Patsy Gowans (SNP), Nick Taylor (Scottish Labour).