Off we go

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Mur­ray Spooner

Ruther­glen be­came one of the key bat­tle­grounds as the Scot­tish elec­tion cam­paign got up and run­ning last week.

Scot­tish Labour leader, Kezia Dug­dale, vis­ited the Burgh where she met vot­ers on the Main Street in a bid to boost James Kelly’s cam­paign.

Elec­tion sea­son got well and truly un­der­way in Ruther­glen last week when Scot­tish Labour leader Kezia Dug­dale vis­ited the town.

Ms Dug­dale, who was there to lend sup­port to can­di­date James Kelly, met vot­ers on the Main Street the day af­ter par­lia­ment dis­solved and the cam­paign­ing be­gan.

Speak­ing to the Re­former, she said the Labour manifesto would bring “an end to Tory aus­ter­ity”, and vowed to tackle the hous­ing cri­sis in the con­stituency, in­vest in ed­u­ca­tion and end coun­cil cuts.

She said: “We have got a very clear and cred­i­ble plan to stop the cuts and I think peo­ple here in Ruther­glen want to see more in­vest­ment go into their kids’ fu­ture, into their schools and their lo­cal com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties.

“They don’t want to see thou­sands of jobs lost, which is the price of the SNP’s bud­get for the past few years.

“If you want that in­vest­ment in your child’s fu­ture and you want the pow­ers of the par­lia­ment used you’ve got to vote Labour.”

She went on: “Scot­land has a hous­ing cri­sis and Labour has a plan to end that.

“Our manifesto will com­mit to build­ing 60,000 homes over the life­time of the next par­lia­ment, 45,000 of which will be for so­cial rent di­rectly to ad­dress the prob­lems that are faced here in Ruther­glen.

“The rea­son that we are able to do that is be­cause we stand for us­ing the pow­ers of the par­lia­ment, in­clud­ing bor­row­ing pow­ers.

She added: “We want to pro­tect spend­ing in the NHS in real terms.

“Lis­ten to Ni­cola Stur­geon and you think that ev­ery­thing to do with the NHS is rosy but the re­al­ity is it’s re­ally dif­fi­cult to get a GP ap­point­ment and dif­fi­cult to get the health care that you need within the wait­ing times that you’ve been told.”

Ms Dug­dale also paid trib­ute to the can­di­date she was there to sup­port.

“James Kelly is a fan­tas­tic MSP,” she said. “He’s a fan­tas­tic busi­ness man­ager in the par­lia­ment. It’s ex­actly why I’ve cho­sen to spend the first day of the cam­paign sup­port­ing him and I‘m de­ter­mined to see him back in that par­lia­ment as the MSP for Ruther­glen.”

James Kelly, who is de­fend­ing the seat for Labour on May 5, was de­lighted with the visit.

He said: “We all know the im­pact of the SNP’s cuts to South La­nark­shire’s bud­get: schools are in­creas­ingly un­der- re­sourced, staff are fac­ing job losses and vi­tal com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties are un­der threat.

“My prom­ise in this elec­tion is clear: I will al­ways stand up for our lo­cal area and fight the SNP’s aus­ter­ity bud­get.

“The SNP can­di­date has never once crit­i­cised her party’s lead­er­ship on the cuts they have forced on to our coun­cil.”

Other par­ties were less im­pressed with Ms Dug­dale’s high-pro­file trip to the Burgh.

SNP can­di­date Clare Haughey, said: “The Labour Party want to im­pose an im­me­di­ate 1p tax in­crease which would hit 2.5 mil­lion tax pay­ers across Scot­land, in­clud­ing al­most half a mil­lion pen­sion­ers.

“At a time when many fam­i­lies are strug­gling to make ends meet that just can’t be right.

“Work­ing fam­i­lies in our own com­mu­nity are al­ready re­ly­ing on food­banks to put food on their tables due to Tory aus­ter­ity. The SNP is com­mit­ted to fair and pro­gres­sive tax­a­tion and that prin­ci­ple will be at the heart of our plans for a third term in of­fice.”

Robert Brown of the Lib Dems said: “It adds to the razzmatazz of elec­tions to have se­nior party fig­ures from the var­i­ous par­ties com­ing to Ruther­glen.

“My own party leader Wil­lie Ren­nie has been here a num­ber of times.

“It is Lib­eral Democrats, not Labour, who have chal­lenged the SNP gov­ern­ment most ef­fec­tively against their dis­as­trous cen­tral­i­sa­tion of the police, against the SNP cuts of over 150,000 col­lege places, on the GP re­cruit­ment cri­sis and on the need to in­vest in Scot­tish schools.”

And Tay­lor Muir, who is stand­ing for the Con­ser­va­tives, said: “What will stick in vot­ers minds come May 5 about Kezia Dug­dale and Labour is that they want to hit ev­ery worker in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang earn­ing £11,000 or more with a tax rise.

“Only the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives and Ruth David­son will stand up for Scot­land’s place in the UK , un­like Kezia, who said Labour MSPs are free to back sep­a­ra­tion in a fu­ture ref­er­en­dum.”

Say­ing hello Ms Dug­dale and James Kelly meet Labour sup­port­ers

If the cap fits Kezia Dug­dale

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