Lead­er­ship ri­vals re­veal poli­cies for north

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - NEWS -

au­thor­ity cuts if elected first min­is­ter in 2021.

His ri­val Richard Leonard, a Cen­tral Scot­land MSP and for­mer trade union or­gan­iser, promised to lead Scot­tish Labour as a party for “the whole of Scot­land” and “de­liver hope in place of de­s­pair.”

Both made a com­mit­ment to visit all parts of the High­lands if elected leader.

The pair were speak­ing yes­ter­day in In­ver­ness.

A room full of about 50 party ac­tivists gath­ered at the city’s Beau­fort Ho­tel in Cul­duthel Road for the hus­tings.

Yes­ter­day, both con­tenders said they would work to end the pub­lic sec­tor pay cap for 31,000 work­ers in the High­lands, and stop the “diminu­tion” of power to lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

Mr Leonard said he has been fight­ing – and will con­tinue to fight – to keep High­lands and Is­lands En- ter­prise board in­stead of a cen­tral strate­gic board.

Mr Sar­war said he would in­tro­duce a derelict land tax on land “sat on” by devel­op­ers which could in­stead be used by the coun­cil for so­cial hous­ing.

And he would also give High­land Coun­cil the power to in­tro­duce a tourism tax which he says would raise an es­ti­mated £9.2mil­lion a year.

Mr Leonard said his first pri­or­ity for ed­u­ca­tion would be “in­vest­ment” to com­bat the lack of IT teach­ers in schools, and that he wants to see more pow­ers for ed­u­ca­tion at the lo­cal gov­ern­ment level.

With 19% of chil­dren in the High­lands liv­ing in poverty, he added that “tack­ling poverty and in­equal­ity” at home is the way to re­duce a “widen­ing at­tain­ment gap.”

Mr Sar­war said there should be a “re-reg­u­la­tion of bus ser­vices”.

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