Labour aim to stop SNP making gains
There is just over a fortnight to go until voters in East Kilbride and Avondale return to the polls to elect a new South Lanarkshire Council administration.
And we continue our election build-up today by featuring the East Kilbride Central North and East Kilbride Central South wards.
East Kilbride Central South could be one of the hardest fought battlegrounds between the SNP and Labour in the town.
Central South and Central North are the only seats in East Kilbride in which Labour are fielding two candidates.
The party have current Central South councillors Gerry Convery and Susan Kerr seeking re-election.
Ms Kerr became a councillor in 2012 and the former teacher has made improving education one of her core targets.
“I was born and brought up in East Kilbride,” she said, “I’m married to former local MSP Andy Kerr and have three daughters.
“Before becoming a councillor in May 2012 I was formerly a primary school teacher.
“As a teacher I saw that a good education is vital to the success and opportunity of our young people.
“I am proud of the hard work and passion that I have brought to my role as a councillor and the satisfaction that I get by advocating for and winning on behalf of local residents.
“I am seeking re-election to continue to work on behalf of the people who live in The Murray and Westwood area.
“Over the past five years I have worked tirelessly on constituents’ behalf on local issues.
“And throughout this time I have delivered, through South Lanarkshire Council, on our key pledges such as the building of new council houses and the continued investment in state-of-the-art primary and secondary schools.”
Mr Convery first took this seat 22 years ago and said that he is standing for re-election for the same reason he stood the first time – to help people.
“I get huge satisfaction from solving the problems that affect our communities,” he said.
“It isn’t always easy but I know that as a local councillor I often can get things done for people that they will struggle to sort themselves.
“That’s the job and anyone who isn’t prepared to graft on behalf of their constituents shouldn’t consider entering local politics.
“It helps that I have a good deal of experience in how a local authority works, as both an area manager at another local authority and in two decades as a South Lanarkshire councillor.”
The SNP will be looking to increase their numbers in Central South.
Current councillor John Anderson will be joined by Collette Stevenson, who will be standing for the first time.
Mr Anderson has held the seat for the past decade and wants to carry on his work in the area.
“I am asking for your support to allow SNP councillors to carry on working in partnership with local groups on the things that matter to you,” he said.
“We want to make things better, we want to make East Kilbride a cleaner, safer place to live in.
“We will continue to campaign for action to be taken on all lockup sites which have become the biggest eyesore in East Kilbride.
“This election really matters, please ensure you use your vote and elect SNP councillors with a proven track record in providing proper effective representation for everyday problems.
“Councillors who will work closely with the new dedicated ward community police officers to deal with those who are involved in anti-social behaviour activities and advocate tough action against those that blight our community with dog-fouling, littering our streets and fly-tipping.”
Ms Stevenson was born and raised in East Kilbride.
“My priority issues are clear,” she said. “To ensure we get the action we need we must open up the council to greater scrutiny and accountability.
“We need to close the attainment gap that leaves behind too many of our young people.
“I am concerned the council have not worked closely enough with the NHS to deliver the socialcare needs of our older citizens.
“I want more done to support carers.
“I want the council to do more to support local communities and see the SNP plan to provide ward areas with £1 million over the next five years for local decision-making as a great start.
“I am a hard worker and if elected will do my best to make a difference in the years ahead.”
Conservative Willie Chalmers, who has lived in East Kilbride for 18 years, feels his party offer something different from the SNP and Labour.
“I have worked all my life in construction and property maintenance,” he said.
“The Labour Party is preoccupied with its internal wrangling and the SNP appear to have put all their efforts into a neverendum with predictable results – falling educational standards, a cash-strapped police force, the Scottish economy on the brink of recession when the UK as a whole is thriving.
“The area that worries me most right now is education.
“If we do not prepare our kids to reach as far as their ability or their ambition will allow them we will have failed a generation. “I don’t want that. “If you don’t support the SNP, please give me your second preference to act as a strong opponent to a second independence referendum.”
Iain Hughes has called for people to vote for the Green Party as they bid to tackle poverty and social housing.
“In our 70th anniversary year I’m under no illusion that everything can be exactly as it was when I was a boy,” he said.
“But people are shocked by horrible child poverty under this council’s watch – and now a rise in food banks and homelessness.
“My main goals are tackling East Kilbride’s poverty shame and ensuring more social housing with affordable rents.
“We need to fight unnecessary cuts in public services that see us lose things like our libraries in Westwood.”
I get huge satisfaction from solving problems that affect our community...
Centre The Westwood Square