Time to vote and make your voice heard
This week marks the Scottish local council elections and how you cast your vote on Thursday will directly affect your life.
The elections on May 4 give us all a chance to make a difference on how council services are delivered.
It will also be the first time in Scotland that 16 and 17-year-olds can vote in the council elections.
Young people need to know that their opinion matters and their vote could make a huge difference.
Scots are praised for being politically engaged but turnout at local elections was still just 39.7 per cent in 2012.
This year local councils are hoping that Scots will turn out in record numbers to decide which councillors will best meet their needs.
From schooling children to looking after the vulnerable, from collecting bins to looking after local roads and transport, from housing to parks and libraries, the council provides important services.
You will be voting for councillors to represent your views and opinions, and decide how the council spends its money and provides services.
And the decisions they make at your local council cover the services you use every day.
Scotland’s 32 councils account for one quarter of public spending – that’s billions of pounds of your money.
Don’t you want a say on how they spend your hard-earned cash?
Voting also gives you a legitimate right to complain, whether it’s about potholes or mess in parks. But if you don’t bother to vote, do you really have the right to moan if you are unhappy about other people’s choices?
The services local councils deliver include: ●Polling takes Thursday, place on May 4, between and 10pm. 7am ●Votes will begin to be counted between 9.30am on 8am and Friday, May 5.
– schools, nurseries, buildings, museums, pools and sports centres, childcare, psychological services, halls and community facilities, libraries
- community care, children and family services - roads, public transport, economic development, flood prevention, building control - refuse collection and disposal, street lighting, food safety, health promotion, animal welfare, maintenance of parks and cemeteries
- allocation and maintenance of public housing, homeless provision, rent collection, capital investment.
Candidates standing in local elections are from your area, they know the local issues and are genuinely concerned.
If you have time, try to understand the qualities each candidate brings. They, if successful, may be the people you need to get in touch with if you want to improve your lives over the next few years.
And they will have a crucial say over whether planned developments take place down your road.
■To find out which candidates are standing in your council ward you can go to www.yourvotematters.co.uk and enter your postcode.
Make it count Be sure to cast your vote Polling stations will be open from 7am until 10pm
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